CUC cuts deal for long-awaited energy storage

| 29/09/2022 | 36 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) has signed a deal with a global energy company to install two 10-megawatt storage systems. This will be the local power provider’s first storage facility, which was approved by OfReg more than three years ago. The project is expected to be finished late next year and will enable CUC to double its renewable energy capacity on Grand Cayman and cut customer bills. But even with this facility allowing an increase in renewables, Cayman will still be far from its 2037 target.

The system, which will be supplied by the Finland-based international energy and engineering company Wärtsilä Energy, will facilitate up to a total of 29MW of distributed customer-sited renewable energy resources without detrimental effects on its grid.

CUC’s power system is isolated from other power systems and it is susceptible to unplanned changes in generation output. Until now, the network-connected electricity generation sources on Grand Cayman comprised 161MW of diesel-fueled generation and just 14MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation.

Vice President Customer Services and Technology, Sacha Tibbetts, said the project will help CUC adopt more renewable sources of power generation and operate its generating facilities in a more efficient manner reducing fuel costs.

“This represents a crucial step for CUC to integrate more renewable energy with the grid,” he said. “Once this project is completed we also anticipate savings on fuel costs and improved reliability of services for our customers.”

The energy storage systems will be connected to the Hydesville substation in West Bay and the Prospect Substation, providing extensive power system optimisation capabilities, such as spinning reserve capacity, improved frequency response and enhanced grid stability. The savings on fuel costs will be passed on to the customers.

Jon Rodriguez, Director, Engine Power Plants, Wärtsilä Energy in North America, said each facility will include a fully integrated, modular and compact energy storage system, as well as the GEMS Digital Energy Platform.

“Energy storage has proven to be a game changer for our numerous island-based customers in the Caribbean and beyond to simultaneously lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy consumption, and improve grid reliability,” he said.

Despite this effort by CUC, Cayman remains significantly far away from the targets set out in the 2017 National Energy Policy to ween off the country’s dependence on fossil fuels for electricity. According to the policy, 70% of local power should be generated from green sources in less than 15 years, but at present only around 8% comes from renewables. Even this new CUC storage project will not make a significant dent in the current gap between reality and ambition.

Late last year OfReg began the search for consultants to implement a Renewable Energy Auction Scheme (REAS) to promote a viable long-term renewable energy market. Then in April, the regulator issued a request for qualified bidders for a solar plant, but no contract has been awarded in either bid.

In May, Premier Wayne Panton announced plans for the government to have the majority shares in any future new renewable energy infrastructure, allowing Cayman to reap and retain the benefits of the projects and control of future energy supplies.

The policy is intended to help secure the country’s energy future by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. “It will also help stabilise energy costs by reducing the impact of the volatility typical of fossil fuel pricing. The decision will incrementally reduce the outflow of money for fossil fuel and thus also help to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits to the Cayman people,” Panton said four months ago.

“We have to make up for lost time,” he stated when announcing the policy and stakeholder engagement to design the implementation plan. It was also said that the Cayman National Energy Policy Council would be involved in the consultations to shape the policy. To date, no further information has been released.


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Category: Business, Energy, Science & Nature, utilities

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What technology will the batteries use? Lithium?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear god this thread is testament to the dire level of STEM teaching in these islands!

    Grid storage makes more solar possible, that is all there is to it. Solar is unreliable. When a cloud rolls overhead your output collapses. On a large scale if there is too much solar on the grid and output drops it could be a few seconds before an additional diesel generator can be fired up causing frequency drops, brown or black outs, or worse trip the whole grid.

    Well done to CUC this!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Government will receive from CUC the names of the customers that they helped with their bills, from the millions that Government gave to CUC to help, which was capped at kwts2000, or they just gave it to CUC to do as they please with that money?

    I hope Government request this confirmation from CUC with the names of the Customers that were helped with Government’s money!

  4. Anonymous says:

    in retirement i plan on coming off grid completely! only way….politicians…..u cant win with them….

  5. EV. GREEN says:

    CUC installed an EV charger with surprisingly low amps, meaning long charging times. Why not install a Tesla Superchager?. I can’t believe one charger installed at their HQ! CUcC has a number of substations throughout the island where they can establish charging stations but they move at molasses speed while talking about moving to green energy..
    The pace of progress is being stymied by incompetent management. Shame on you CUC wake up it’s the 21st century.

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    • Noname says:

      Very simple , you need to setup a 150 KW DC line , way over the skillset available here and CUC HATES anything Tesla related, they would go all forms of extra length to avoid dealing with any Tesla hardware even if it means paying 3 times too much for identical capacity.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I mean, it’s more that super chargers costs six figures and there isn’t massive demand to support that. Also, if the range for modern EVs is more than you are likely able to drive in a day here, what’s the urgency to fast charge? Makes far more sense to setup basic charging in places that cars sit all day/night than to emulate infrastructure more generally appropriate to long distance travel and commuting.

    • Anonymous says:

      those chargers are 50a 240. next step is DC fast chargers. bitch about anything on here

    • Anonymous says:

      You failed to indicate if you are willing to pay to use the charging stations you want CUC to set up. Or are you looking for it for free?

      • EV. GREEN says:

        I’ve decided to set up my own charging station using Solar Panels and batteries. I’m not a freeloader and I contribute more than my fair share to the economy. This move should make both of us 😊 No threat to your government handouts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why use batteries? It’s a nonsensical step. Presumably your EV is at work when your solar is producing so use your solar to offset your house use or sell to CUC then charge overnight on CUC.

  6. Anonymous says:

    and if you think CUC will pass the savings on to the customers, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Northside.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly what savings do you people imagine utility scale storage will bring? It won’t. It will cost money. It’s about making unreliable energy sources like solar possible on a greater scale without causing frequency and voltage instability.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Definitely needed. Whether affordable is another wuestion.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We have year around sunshine but the highest and least green energy charges. CUC you are a national and environmental embarrassment . How much are the senior officers earning from this ecological and economic disaster?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have any clue how much solar we would need to supply even half our peak power needs? Thousands of acres! That’s ignoring the grid instability that would cause.

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      • Anonymous says:

        we have thousand of acres….roofs and car parks…

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        • Anonymous says:

          No we don’t. Besides that doesn’t answer the grid instability problem. You need a massive amount storage to cope with a massive amount of solar or the grid will fall over every time a cloud rolls over…

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      • Anonymous says:

        you’re wrong, grand Cayman in it’s entirety could be fully posted by sugar with just 500acres and still have plenty of juice left over. the main reason they’re only 8% reaching their target now is because cuc is a greedy monopoly, renewable energy and they won’t profit as much.

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        • Anonymous says:

          lol. absolute rubbish.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Not correct. 500 acres would be a pv field of about 150MWp capacity. Whilst that might look close to CUC’s peak diesel output of course that’s only peak power and would only likely supply about 230GWh annually compared to CUC’s near 700GWh from diesel. So you’d need at least 1500 acres and a MASSIVE amount of grid storage to soak it up and deliver power through cloudy weeks

    • Anonymous says:

      You happen to live on an island and have to import fuel. If you don’t want CUC power, feel free to install your own solar panels and go off the grid!

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    • Anonymous says:

      CUC is a for profit business. We must remind ourselves of that every time conversations about conservation and green energy come up.

      As with all other for profit businesses – the obligation is owed to the stakeholders.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I bet these won’t be sited in impoverished neighbourhoods. Most likely destined for Camana Bay, Crystal Harbour, Finn and the like. As if the high class neighbourhoods need it with all their back up generators.

    I also wonder what the billed surcharge will be for using this stored power. Sounds like another excuse for CUC to raise rates.

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    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Was the article too long for you to read? In any event you class war rubbish is nonsensical drivel. It’s grid storage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Want some ketchup with that chip on your shoulder? You understand that its a grid – doesnt matter where its stored? Perhaps not, if you think Prospect sub station and Hydesville Road are “high class neighbourhoods”. The beam in your eye is apparently so large you cant even read.

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    • Anonymous says:

      it’s pumping back into the grid, it’s for everyone

  10. Anonymous says:

    Unless it’s already loaded on a container, everything Cayman’s residents seek to acquire and import over the next 6-12 months is now lined up behind 2 million+ Post Ian Floridians.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Does CUCs current license even permit this?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Who is the local partner?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Fluff meant to pacify while not actually doing anything to help. Thanks CUC!

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