Galápagos San Cristóbal Island Wind Park

 

Location: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Type:
  • Solar
  • Wind

Status: In operation since 2007

Project Leader: American Electric Power (AEP)

Key results

  • First large-scale wind park in Ecuador and one of the world’s largest wind-diesel hybrid systems
  • Annually supplies approximately 30% of the island’s electricity needs, complemented by two 6 kW solar PV systems
  • As of 2016, reduced diesel consumption by a cumulative total of 2.3 million gallons, avoided 21,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and reduced the risk of a fuel spill
  • Registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) yielding approximately 11,000 certified emission reduction (CER) credits worth approximately 110,000 USD purchased on the international market
  • Boasts environmental success such as increased hatching and reproduction rates of the endangered Galapagos petrel
  • Recipient of Energy Globe Awards in 2008 and 2017
  • Used as a model to develop the Baltra/Santa Cruz wind park in the Galápagos in 2014, in support of the new Zero Fossil Fuel program on the Islands

Location: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Type:
  • Solar
  • Wind

Status: In operation since 2007

Project Leader: American Electric Power (AEP)

The GSEP’s wind park on San Cristóbal Island is Ecuador’s longest-operating wind facility and a national pioneer in the use of wind resources. The park’s three 800 kW turbines have provided more than 26 million kWh of energy (as of 2016) to San Cristóbal, the second-largest island in the Galápagos.

Since 2007, the facility has functioned a remarkable 92% of the time. It also includes two 6 kW solar installations that have generated 136,000 kWh electricity, as well as new transmission lines and advanced control systems that allow the hybrid wind-diesel system to work together efficiently.

Developed in the fragile ecosystem of the Galápagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we made sure that the park’s construction would not harm the local environment and wildlife. Our environmental management plan included a conservation program to protect the Galápagos petrel, an endangered local bird. Since 2012, hatching and reproduction rates of the petrel have increased on the island.

The park’s five-year development and construction cost 10 million USD, financed with innovative capital investments from the United Nations Foundation and United Nations Development Programme, Ecuadorian taxpayer donations, the government of Ecuador, and Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership companies. To support this project, the national government established new policies to deploy renewable power. It also endorsed a new electricity price tariff based on the costs to generate wind power on the island.

In 2016, we transferred the ownership of the wind park to ELECGALÁPAGOS S.A., the local electricity company. The staff at ELECGALÁPAGOS is thoroughly trained to take full responsibility of the administration, operation and maintenance of the wind farm and associated facilities.

Throughout the park’s development and construction, we have transparently shared our work and solutions to the engineering, environmental and financing challenges that we have faced. This includes a feasibility study released in April 2018 assessing the potential to add further renewables or storage options to San Cristóbal Island. These resources will make it easier for others to replicate the system in the Galápagos, Ecuador and around the world.

The Galápagos San Cristóbal Island wind park has received awards from Power Engineering Magazine (2008), IEEE Spectrum Magazine (2008), World Energy Forum (2008), and Energy Globe (2008 and 2017). The site itself is a destination for tourists visiting the Galápagos Islands.

"This project has been a national pioneer in the use of wind resources and has served as a reference for the development of similar projects both in the Galapagos Islands and in the mainland Ecuador."

Esteban Albornoz Vintimilla, Ecuador’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy

Participating members and partners

  • American Electric Power (AEP)
  • RWE
  • Électricité de France (EDF)
  • Enel
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Ontario Power Generation (OPG)
  • ScottishPower
  • Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Ecuador
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • United Nations Foundation
  • ELECGALAPAGOS S.A (EEPG)
  • San Cristóbal municipality and residents
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