Does renewable energy also require the support of generators?Eduarda Mota
Renewable energy, which comes from natural resources that renew themselves unlimitedly (the sun, wind or water), are growing year after year. The cost reduction in the installation, the availability of access to these resources, and the growing concern for the environment have led many people and businesses to choose this type of energy system.
However, renewable energy sources are not continuous, as they are only available at certain times (when there is sun or wind, for example) and certain quantities, which are usually added to a previously existing power grid, so a failure or malfunction can cause instability in the supply.
In some applications, such as airports, hospitals or industrial plants, such a failure can have very serious consequences. Therefore, it is essential to ensure a back-up system by installing standby generators.
In the case of photovoltaic plants, it is common to use generators as backup, either to ensure supply in periods when solar radiation is lower, or to cope with peak consumption.
In this way, by combining both energy sources, it is possible to ensure greater reliability and energy efficiency. It is possible to save on fuel consumption, while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of electricity production and ensuring a constant production of energy.
Also, to ensure the safety of facilities and people, these power generation systems are the perfect solution. In case of breakdown or bad weather, both wind turbines and solar panels need energy to complete their processes, moving and regaining a position that allows them to protect themselves and their surroundings.
For this reason, the generator sets must be prepared to operate continuously or to come into action when there are failures, by feeding all the systems that guarantee the security of the installation and responding to its energy needs in an efficient way, since it is also important to maintain coherence and to respect as much as possible the sustainability standards of this type of installation.
What are the differential characteristics of these generators?
Robustness and quality
Temperature, soil conditions, the existence of sand or dust, seismic risk, altitude, and access to the renewable energy plants conditions must be taken into account.
All these factors influence on both the design and the election of a generator set to support these sources. Since they are usually located in isolated places with difficult access, these generators must be robust and of high quality.
This equipment must guarantee the power required for the installation, as well as a reliable supply. Depending on the energy needs and the type of installation, several sets can be used simultaneously.
Moreover, in these projects, it is usual to maintain consistency in terms of sustainability and respect for the environment, so optimizing fuel consumption must be a priority in the design and development of these generators.
For situations of permanent use, it is important that the generators for this type of projects have sufficient autonomy to operate for long periods, which is achieved by implementing larger capacity fuel tanks.
Also due to the characteristics of the location of these installations, which are normally isolated or of difficult access, it is necessary to grant these generators great autonomy.
Control system and automatic start
The control and starting system should be automatic, because these sets should be able to support the operation of renewable systems or manage their shutdown, without the need for human intervention.