ABB and Vestas initiative to supply remote areas with wind power

ABB is partnering with Vestas in an innovative, commercially-based business venture that will bring affordable electricity to communities that are energy-poor but rich in untapped wind generation resources.

Many such communities rely on diesel generators to supply what power they have, which is an expensive, polluting and potentially uncertain power source. The Wind for Prosperity initiative is based on a hybrid wind-diesel electricity generating system made up of ABB microgrid power stabilization solutions and factory-refurbished Vestas wind turbines with advanced diesel power generation capability.

The system combines ABB's unique grid modeling, integration engineering and electrical system specification with Vestas' leading hybrid wind-diesel turbine technology to create a stable, reliable power source and electrical infrastructure for remote, energy-poor areas not linked to a power grid.

Powering remote places

Designed to increase capacity and reduce the cost and environmental impact of electrical generation in remote places, the Wind for Prosperity initiative is an opportunity for business, government and financial institutions to join forces and improve lives while generating risk-adjusted returns for private investors.

"A typical microgrid power system is made up of many parts, which must be integrated to work together" says Massimo Danieli, managing director of ABB’s Power Generation business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division. "ABB's distributed control and grid-stabilizing PowerStore™ technology combined with Vestas' wind turbines will create strong, stable self-contained power systems where regular grid infrastructure cannot easily reach. ABB microgrids are a proven method of power generation, able to reduce emissions and dependence on diesel power."

Interest in decentralized or off-grid electricity generation is growing as developing countries grapple with the challenges of delivering electricity to rural and remote locations. However, extending the existing grid is often challenging in terms of cost, power quality and limited demand in isolated areas and sparsely populated zones. Fuel-powered microgrids play a key role in bringing electricity to these areas, but are also vulnerable to fuel price increases and the logistical challenge of delivering fuel to remote places.

This has given rise to the development of renewable energies as an additional or main source of generation in fuel-powered microgrids.

Kenya focus

The Wind for Prosperity initiative is focusing on rural Kenya to start, where 13 communities - home to more than 200,000 people - have been identified as potential project areas, in coordination with Kenyan government agencies. The scheme is expected to supply electricity at significant lower cost than diesel-only power production. 

In addition to Africa, Wind for Prosperity partners are also exploring potential projects in other geographical areas with similar needs. The initiative plans to install hybrid power generation systems reaching at least one million people in the coming years.

For these projects, ABB is providing its unique PowerStore™ technology, microgrid controller and other equipment on a site-to-site basis to keep the hybrid wind systems stable and provide grid-quality electrical power, in addition to related electrical infrastructure and localized service solutions.

Vestas is supplying factory refurbished Vestas wind turbines, wind simulation studies for site selection and site designs, and EPC services for wind turbines, including foundations, power cables and transformers, as well as localized wind turbine service solutions.

ABB's microgrid technology is designed to manage renewable energy generation in isolated grids and ensure utility-grade power quality and grid stability, as well as very high levels of wind and solar power penetration, helping to reduce both emissions and dependency on fossil fuel. ABB has more than 80 microgrid project references worldwide, including consulting, key products in microgrid systems, and expert project execution.

ABB's distributed control and grid-stabilizing PowerStore technology combined with Vestas' wind turbines will create strong, stable self-contained power systems where regular grid infrastructure cannot easily reach.


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