Stakeholder Forum article for WFES 2013: Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Energy Development for Small Developing States and Remote Nordic Communities

Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Energy Development for Small Island Developing States and Remote Nordic Communities for Stakeholder Forum publication for the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE in January 2013.

Sustainable energy development can assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and remote communities and regions in mitigating and adapting to climate change, especially with pursuing an integrated approach to the development of renewable energy in synergy with heat and water and waste treatment. There are common linkages between renewable energy, water, carbon reduction and sustainable economic development, including tourism and sustainable economies, for SIDS and remote communities and regions. Communities and islands that embrace the integration of energy, water and carbon reduction will be more desirable destinations and economies for both travel and business.

The integration of renewable energy, heat and water is quite advanced across the Caribbean and Pacific, and for remote communities and capital cities in the Nordic region. There are common trends through all these regions. Integrated approaches to renewable energy can occur in synergy with heat, water and waste for SIDS and communities in these Nordic regions, and could inspire parallel development of these fields globally. This article builds on research under the Sustainable Energy Development project and the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research. It is consistent with the international collaboration on energy and water research at the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summitin Abu Dhabi, and regional efforts for Latin America and the Caribbean under by the Department of Sustainable Energy Development of the Organization of American States.

One key aspect that ties together SIDS and remote northern communities are the high costs of electricity from imported fuel, and diesel generation, which in turn increase the cost of heating, cooling, and water and waste treatment. However, these locations also have significant renewable energy resources, or could, at a minimum, benefit from higher energy efficiency or burning natural gas liquids in substitution for diesel fuel.

The Renewable Energy to Desalination and Tourism Project for Caribbean Islands combines renewable energy based power generation and desalination, with cooling and heating as additional by-products. It works with Caribbean islands and businesses which are tourism dependent to integrate clean energy, carbon reduction, tourism and travel, and the project is a participant in the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) Clean Energy Financing Forum in Central America and the Caribbean Business Plan Competition.

The island of Aruba in the Caribbean is working with Richard Branson and the Carbon War Room to transition the island to 100% renewable energy, thus creating the world’s first sustainable energy economy. In the Pacific, the three atoll islands of Tokelau, a non-self governing territory of New Zealand, have recently completed projects allowing them to meet all energy needs from renewable energy, with one of the world largest off-grid solar systems, along with batteries and electricity generators powered by coconut biofuel produced on the islands. All these islands have existing tourist economies.

Innovative energy approaches are being used throughout the Nordic region to integrate energy and heat, and increase energy efficiency, supporting local economies and the attractiveness of those communities for visitors and investment. In Nuuk, Greenland, a hydrogen plant uses hydroelectricity to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen. This hydrogen is stored for conversion into electricity, and on-demand heat in a fuel cell. Excess heat from hydrogen production and fuel cells heats Nuuk, while the electricity goes to the grid or buildings.  In Qaanaaq in north-western Greenland, above-ground pipes combine multiple energy and water services, while diesel engines and district heating provide highly efficient fuel use exceeding 85%. If this system was supplemented by a thermal storage mechanism, wind could also be integrated, and biogas from wastes could be used to generate electricity and heat.

This article is also located at: http://www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach/index.php/component/content/article/169-irena-day2/1365-integrated-approaches-to-sustainable-energy-development-for-small-island-developing-states-and-remote-nordic-communities

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