Caribbean power

Three companies have won a contract to build the world’s largest hybrid wind/diesel power plant, which will be the sole source of electricity for the Caribbean island of Bonaire.


The plant will comprise a wind park with 12 wind turbines and a diesel power plant designed to be used with biodiesel.


Sustainable-energy supply company Econcern is planning the project, MAN Diesel is supplying five engines, and the wind turbines will be manufactured by Enercon.


The hybrid power plant, ordered by Water en Energie Bedrijf Bonaire (WEB), the state-run energy provider in the Dutch Antilles, will be in operation from the end of 2009, supplying the entire island with a total of 25MW of eco-friendly energy.


The first stage of the project will be to install the 60m-high wind turbines on the windy but difficult to access north coast of Bonaire.


The diesel power plant will then be built 10km further to the south west, where the infrastructure is better.


It is being set up to turnkey completion by MAN Diesel, to which the project is worth €15m (£13m).


Dr Stephan Mey, head of the power plants business unit at MAN Diesel, said: ‘Generating electricity with wind or solar energy is easy wherever the electricity can be fed into a major network.


‘As a sole source of energy – like it is here on the islands, for instance – neither solar nor wind farms are able to deliver a sufficiently constant supply of energy.


‘Here, our diesel power plants offer the perfect supplement.’