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Saft is delivering a 3MW energy-storage system that will ensure a continuous supply of grid electricity from the hybrid wind/diesel power project on the Caribbean island of Bonaire.

The Saft energy-storage system, based on advanced nickel-based battery technology, will store energy from the island’s isolated grid and then deliver it as required to provide backup power to maintain a reliable and stable power grid, which will serve a population of 14,500 people and 100,000 holiday visitors a year.

Bonaire is a small island of around 250km2 located 80km north of the coast of Venezuela.

The island’s main power plant burnt down in 2004, so until recently its annual power consumption of 75,000MWh was met by a set of rented container (light-fuel) diesel generator systems.

The new sustainable power scheme, developed by the Dutch-German consortium Ecopower Bonaire on behalf of Water en Energie Bedrijf Bonaire (WEB), the state-run energy provider in the Dutch Antilles, will enable the entire island to switch to eco-friendly energy, with 12 wind turbines providing a total of 11MW and a 14MW biodiesel power plant.

Saft was called in by consortium member Enercon, the wind turbine and system supplier, to develop and supply the battery energy-storage system that will form a vital element of a safe, stable island grid.

Its main role is to maintain power quality and continuity of supply in critical situations, such as a sudden increase in demand or failure of a wind turbine or diesel generator, preventing the possibility of a power blackout.

The battery is capable of delivering just over 3MW for more than two minutes, allowing sufficient time for an additional diesel generator to be started and brought on line.

‘The Bonaire project is a further example of the steadily increasing recognition that energy-storage technology will play a key role in the delivery of renewable energy schemes’, said Xavier Delacroix, general manager of Saft’s IBG division.

The battery system has already been built by Saft and is currently undergoing customer acceptance tests in preparation for delivery to the site in Bonaire in the first quarter of 2010.

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