USA: Several farmers in North Kohala, Hawaii, are now benefitting from an innovative off-grid water-pumping system powered by a Northern Power NPS 100 wind turbine. Like many others in remote locations and island communities, North Kohala farmers have been searching for an alternative to using polluting, expensive diesel fuel to generate electricity.
This microgrid project, known as SkyGrid Energy, marks the growing trend of turning to affordable, clean, renewable wind energy as the solution. The NPS 100 wind turbine is specifically designed to support microgrids with its sophisticated voltage controls and no inrush current, thereby relieving stress to the system. In addition, the NPS 100's ability to control reactive power independently of wind speed more reliably meets energy demands, a crucial component of microgrids.
The SkyGrid Energy microgrid has been fully operational since April 2013. In addition to the NPS 100 wind turbine, which is the primary source of energy production, the system also includes a battery bank and solar panels. The system is capable of pumping more than 30 million gallons of water annually and is being used to irrigate 400 acres of agricultural land and support 14 participating farms and agricultural businesses.
The project was partially funded by the US Department of Energy through the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture. Gen-X Energy Development LLC, the project developer, plans to replicate and deploy this microgrid solution throughout Hawaii and other island communities.