renewable energy, solar wind hydro feasibility development
ACCESS Renewable Energy Ltd.
© WEC Ltd; ACCESS Renewable Energy Ltd. 2006 - 2017.  Registered Trade name: ACCESS Renewables.

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Useful renewable energy information.

Renewable energy project feasibility basics - Part 2 This is Part 2 of the Renewable energy project feasibility basics 5 part series.  The series will outline some basic aspects of a typical renewable energy feasibility analysis, start to finish. The topics covered here is not aimed at providing site specific solutions, but rather to guide readers through key aspects of an objective, unbiased renewable energy feasibility analysis. The 5 parts are: 1. Introduction 2. Technical and Technological aspects 3. Organisational and Regulatory aspects 4. Social and Environmental aspects 5. Economic and Financial aspects In Part 1: Introduction, we covered the following topics: Goals and objectives; Study scope; Time and cost; and Using consultants. Having these aspects fresh in mind will help with Part 2. Part 2: Technical and Technological aspects. The technical and technological aspects look at what is possible to do at a given site. For simplicity this can be divided into 3 aspects: 1. Renewable resource available 2. Load or energy output requirements 3. Extracting the renewable energy resource 1. Renewable resource available There is some form of renewable energy available almost anywhere. What you want to determine is which renewable energy source is the most dominant and can be harnessed.  This is referred to as a renewable resource analysis and we’ll have a look at solar, wind, water and bio-energy here. When you start your initial site investigation, it may not be obvious which renewable energy resources are available or the most prevalent, so it might help to do some homework first before doing an on-site inspection.  For solar energy there are solar irradiation maps, available online for many areas. The more specific to your location, the better. For wind energy there are also various online resources and mapping, however, local scale is much more important, the more accurate the better. If water power is considered, there might also be some online information available, like annual precipitation, stream flow and water levels.   Solar: Obtain the best local solar irradiation information possible. Pay attention to the topography and aspects like shading from trees, building, hills, etc. You want to be able to align solar panels as close to facing the sun for as much of the day as possible.  Wind: Unless the wind was recorded at your exact location, wind energy data should be taken as indicators and not absolutes. To collect accurate wind energy data it is best to install an anemometer (wind speed meter) that records data for at least 1 year - longer is better. Siting is very important for wind turbines as the wind can vary enormously depending on the topography and surrounding environment. Water power or hydro power: One of the most versatile and valuable renewable energy sources, but it can also be tricky. First, you need flowing water. From that you want to determine the head - that is the drop in elevation that could be used, and second, the flow. The flow should be measured in terms of volume and speed. With these values in hand the available water power can be calculated. The more flow (volume and speed) you have the less head you need, and vice versa. Hydro-kinetic type turbines work of flow only.  Bio-energy may be biogas, biofuel, or biomass and can be used for power or thermal energy. Each type have their own preferred source, but can vary from wood waste and food waste to animal manure and crops grown specifically for bio-energy. Bio-energy systems vary from very simple DIY kits to pretty complex commercial plants. To do a bio-energy resource analysis the main aspects are to determine the type, the quantity, quality and consistency of bio supply.   2. Load or energy output requirements Referring to Part 1, you will know whether the goal is to deliver energy or power to a load, sell power to an utility, etc. (A load is energy consumption). A load is determined by calculating all the energy consuming components. If you are only interested in offsetting thermal energy (e.g. heating or cooling) then calculate those, if it is for power only, focus on the electricity consuming components.  If it is for an existing load supplied by an utility you can reference the kWh on the electricity bill.   If your renewable energy is to be consumed by a local load, you need to determine peak loads and base loads, that is how much energy is typically consumed when. This also becomes relevant if your intention is to sell power to the grid and how much you get paid for your power varies according to when you deliver it. Once you finished determining the load and/or energy output needed, you should have values expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh) for power, for energy it can be BTU, joules, or watt-hours.  This will be used next. If you are unsure about calculating load, there are different online resources to guide you, including handy load calculators, or consult an expert . 3. Extracting the energy - technical aspects There are two basic steps here. The first is determining which technology to use, once that is determined, the second part is to determine the feasibility of implementing and using that technology. From the resource analysis you will know which (and how much of it) renewable resources are available. Depending on your objectives and load analysis, e.g. 24/7 energy or maximum return on investment, you might select one or more technologies. When comparing technologies, the goal is to select the best performing technology given the available renewable resource Efficiency  - is one of the first aspects to consider is - that is the efficiency of the technology to extract energy from the renewable resource. The technology efficiency is weighed against the resource availability to produce an energy model. There are different software to help with this, one worthy mentioning is RETScreen from Natural Resources Canada, used around the world and available in more than 30 languages. A completed energy model should provide you with a capacity factor for that technology, as well as how much energy it can deliver. One effective way to compare renewable technologies is using their capacity factors. This combines the efficiency of the technology with the availability of the renewable resource - and importantly, the ability to deliver the energy. The capacity factor is calculated by taking the total amount of energy the technology is expected to produce during a period of time, and dividing that by the amount of energy the technology could produced at full capacity. Dispatchable energy or generation is another aspect to consider  - that is the technology’s ability to deliver the energy when it is needed.  Some technologies are by nature better here than others for this, e.g. hydro- power facilities with dams and bio-energy. Other renewables can be made “dispatchable” by adding storage, like batteries. If you want to sell electricity to a utility network, then you would need a suitable grid connection - this also needs to be taken into account as different technologies may have different connection requirements. Using the energy model as guide, or in conjunction with, the next step is to do a preliminary system design, that is, determine all the different components the renewable energy system will require, and how they would be connected to one another. Using a schematic diagram or other visual design is a good way to help with this and make all the necessary components are included.  A final aspect to consider is operation and maintenance, something that is often overlooked. When comparing and evaluating technologies, consider how it is operated and maintained on a daily, weekly and annual basis, and who will do it. Hydro plants and bio-energy plants require a lot more hands-on involvement than solar PV installations for example. These are some of the basic technical aspects to consider for project feasibility. If you have a lot of uncertainty or unsure about many of these topics, it will be best to consult an objective expert. Next Part 3: Organisational and Regulatory aspects.
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renewable energy feasibility analysis renewable energy system schematic example solar irradiation map bc wind energy map anemometer wind meter measuring stream flow biogas system agriculture base and peak load renewable energy feasibility analysis energy storage battery
microgrid, remote community, solar wind hydro feasibility site investigation project development
ACCESS Renewable Energy Ltd.
© WEC Ltd; ACCESS Renewable Energy Ltd. 2016.  Registered Trade name: ACCESS Renewables.

Information

Useful renewable energy

information.

Renewable energy project feasibility basics - Part 2 This is Part 2 of the Renewable energy project feasibility basics 5 part series.  The series will outline some basic aspects of a typical renewable energy feasibility analysis, start to finish. The topics covered here is not aimed at providing site specific solutions, but rather to guide readers through key aspects of an objective, unbiased renewable energy feasibility analysis. The 5 parts are: 1. Introduction 2. Technical and Technological aspects 3. Organisational and Regulatory aspects 4. Social and Environmental aspects 5. Economic and Financial aspects In Part 1: Introduction, we covered the following topics: Goals and objectives; Study scope; Time and cost; and Using consultants. Having these aspects fresh in mind will help with Part 2. Part 2: Technical and Technological aspects. The technical and technological aspects look at what is possible to do at a given site. For simplicity this can be divided into 3 aspects: 1. Renewable resource available 2. Load or energy output requirements 3. Extracting the renewable energy resource 1. Renewable resource available There is some form of renewable energy available almost anywhere. What you want to determine is which renewable energy source is the most dominant and can be harnessed.  This is referred to as a renewable resource analysis and we’ll have a look at solar, wind, water and bio-energy here. When you start your initial site investigation, it may not be obvious which renewable energy resources are available or the most prevalent, so it might help to do some homework first before doing an on-site inspection.  For solar energy there are solar irradiation maps, available online for many areas. The more specific to your location, the better. For wind energy there are also various online resources and mapping, however, local scale is much more important, the more accurate the better. If water power is considered, there might also be some online information available, like annual precipitation, stream flow and water levels.   Solar: Obtain the best local solar irradiation information possible. Pay attention to the topography and aspects like shading from trees, building, hills, etc. You want to be able to align solar panels as close to facing the sun for as much of the day as possible.  Wind: Unless the wind was recorded at your exact location, wind energy data should be taken as indicators and not absolutes. To collect accurate wind energy data it is best to install an anemometer (wind speed meter) that records data for at least 1 year - longer is better. Siting is very important for wind turbines as the wind can vary enormously depending on the topography and surrounding environment. Water power or hydro power: One of the most versatile and valuable renewable energy sources, but it can also be tricky. First, you need flowing water. From that you want to determine the head - that is the drop in elevation that could be used, and second, the flow. The flow should be measured in terms of volume and speed. With these values in hand the available water power can be calculated. The more flow (volume and speed) you have the less head you need, and vice versa. Hydro-kinetic type turbines work of flow only.  Bio-energy may be biogas, biofuel, or biomass and can be used for power or thermal energy. Each type have their own preferred source, but can vary from wood waste and food waste to animal manure and crops grown specifically for bio-energy. Bio-energy systems vary from very simple DIY kits to pretty complex commercial plants. To do a bio-energy resource analysis the main aspects are to determine the type, the quantity, quality and consistency of bio supply.   2. Load or energy output requirements Referring to Part 1, you will know whether the goal is to deliver energy or power to a load, sell power to an utility, etc. (A load is energy consumption). A load is determined by calculating all the energy consuming components. If you are only interested in offsetting thermal energy (e.g. heating or cooling) then calculate those, if it is for power only, focus on the electricity consuming components.  If it is for an existing load supplied by an utility you can reference the kWh on the electricity bill.   If your renewable energy is to be consumed by a local load, you need to determine peak loads and base loads, that is how much energy is typically consumed when. This also becomes relevant if your intention is to sell power to the grid and how much you get paid for your power varies according to when you deliver it. Once you finished determining the load and/or energy output needed, you should have values expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh) for power, for energy it can be BTU, joules, or watt-hours.  This will be used next. If you are unsure about calculating load, there are different online resources to guide you, including handy load calculators, or consult an expert . 3. Extracting the energy - technical aspects There are two basic steps here. The first is determining which technology to use, once that is determined, the second part is to determine the feasibility of implementing and using that technology. From the resource analysis you will know which (and how much of it) renewable resources are available. Depending on your objectives and load analysis, e.g. 24/7 energy or maximum return on investment, you might select one or more technologies. When comparing technologies, the goal is to select the best performing technology given the available renewable resource Efficiency  - is one of the first aspects to consider is - that is the efficiency of the technology to extract energy from the renewable resource. The technology efficiency is weighed against the resource availability to produce an energy model. There are different software to help with this, one worthy mentioning is RETScreen from Natural Resources Canada, used around the world and available in more than 30 languages. A completed energy model should provide you with a capacity factor for that technology, as well as how much energy it can deliver. One effective way to compare renewable technologies is using their capacity factors. This combines the efficiency of the technology with the availability of the renewable resource - and importantly, the ability to deliver the energy. The capacity factor is calculated by taking the total amount of energy the technology is expected to produce during a period of time, and dividing that by the amount of energy the technology could produced at full capacity. Dispatchable energy or generation is another aspect to consider  - that is the technology’s ability to deliver the energy when it is needed Some technologies are by nature better here than others for this, e.g. hydro-power facilities with dams and bio-energy. Other renewables can be made “dispatchable” by adding storage, like batteries. If you want to sell electricity to a utility network, then you would need a suitable grid connection - this also needs to be taken into account as different technologies may have different connection requirements. Using the energy model as guide, or in conjunction with, the next step is to do a preliminary system design, that is, determine all the different components the renewable energy system will require, and how they would be connected to one another. Using a schematic diagram or other visual design is a good way to help with this and make all the necessary components are included.  A final aspect to consider is operation and maintenance, something that is often overlooked. When comparing and evaluating technologies, consider how it is operated and maintained on a daily, weekly and annual basis, and who will do it. Hydro plants and bio-energy plants require a lot more hands-on involvement than solar PV installations for example. These are some of the basic technical aspects to consider for project feasibility. If you have a lot of uncertainty or unsure about many of these topics, it will be best to consult an objective expert. Next Part 3: Organisational and Regulatory aspects.
renewable energy feasibility analysis solar irradiation map bc wind energy map anemometer wind meter measuring stream flow biogas system agriculture base and peak load renewable energy feasibility analysis energy storage battery renewable energy system schematic example
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