Powering Paradise

Renewable energy in the Maldives

Most small islands around the world today are dependent on imported fossil fuels for most of their energy requirements. The Republic of Maldives is one such island nation with 1,192 islands with a land area of about 300 km2, formed on a chain of 26 coral reef atolls in the Indian Ocean. The electricity in the Maldives is exclusively produced by diesel generators run on every inhabited island. The use of diesel generators to provide electricity is one of the most expensive and environmentally detrimental ways of generating electricity. Although these islands produce only a tiny fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions, they are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change since around 80 percent of the total landmass of the Maldives is less than 1 meter above sea level.

Based on studies of energy consumption and the availability of renewable energy sources, it was decided to implement an innovative Micro-grid Hybrid Distributed Generation system combining several small scale wind generators, solar photovoltaic panels, battery storage, advanced power electronics equipment and existing diesel generators in Uligam, Raimandhoo and Kondey.

DLRE consulted with island chiefs and community leaders to learn about development plans and projected energy consumption needs, measured consumption patterns, conducted site surveys for potential PV and wind turbine placements as well as prepare reports on cost and capital requirements for the project before implementation of the micro-grid began.

The Former President of Maldives, Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom officially inaugurated the Hybrid Renewable Energy Pilot Project at North Thiladhunmathi Atoll Uligamu on 7 January, 2008. Seen together here with Mr. Robert Orris Blake Jr, a career diplomat and the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia since November 2013 who was the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs from 2009 to 2013 and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives from 2006 to 2009.

Islands represent a big niche market for the application of renewable energy technologies and are very important when it comes to the promotion of renewable energy worldwide. The newly developed and installed system will provide very good opportunities to showcase high penetration of renewable energies using state of the art wind turbines, photovoltaic modules and advanced power electronics and control technology and the future possibilities of distributed generation in remote locations.

DLRE has a great track record and experience in developing and installing the system in the Maldives to showcase high penetration of renewable energies. Employing state-of-the-art wind turbines, photovoltaic modules, advanced power electronics and control technology, we demonstrate the future possibilities of distributed generation in remote locations.