Contributed by Graham Seiner
The Water & Energy Company of Bonaire, a Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, has contracted with a Dutch-German consortium to operate a 23 MW wind-biodiesel power plant at a cost of about $55 million.
The island has a population of 12,000 and peak electricity demand is currently 12 MW, supplied by two light fuel diesel gensets. The goal is to get all the island's power from sustainable sources within the next five years.
Bonaire has an average wind speed of about 9.1 m/s. A 33- KW wind turbine has already been installed. The second phase of the project will be completed next year. It involves the construction of a wind-diesel plant comprising a 10 MW wind farm and a 13 MW biodiesel power plant. This will be by far the biggest wind-diesel plant in the world.
The project is working to achieve a 100% sustainable electricity supply through the extraction of biofuel from algae, which will reduce electrciity bills by up to 20%. It is anticipated that part of the investment will be recovered by means of carbon credits.
The combination of biofuel production, wind turbines and diesel plant will boost local employment, and by 2012 it is conceivable that Bonaire will get all of its electrical energy from natural, clean renewable sources.