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The island of Berlenga is a protected environmental area classified as a UNESCO nature reserve. The electricity supply to the island of Berlenga, isolated from the mainland Portugal power grid, was done by 3 diesel generators, with alternate operation. For its operation, about 15,000 liters of fuel were transported to the island annually by boat. The transport of the fuel and the operation of the generators are the responsibility of EDP Distribuição, as well as the existing low voltage distribution network.
This supply scheme involved a high environmental risk (associated with the maritime transport of the fuel to the island), air pollution (estimated annual emissions of around 40 tons of CO2) and noise.
The Sustainable Berlenga project, a partnership between EDP Distribuição and CM Peniche, aimed at providing an alternative supply of sustainable and viable electricity to maintain in the long term, replacing diesel production with renewable energy sources. The system consists of a photovoltaic production unit, a storage system, an emergency diesel generator and monitoring/control of the distribution network currently in place.
The biggest challenges of the project were related to the maritime transport of materials, where the sea conditions sometimes forced stops at work. The transport of materials within the island itself represented another challenge in itself, namely the displacement of the generators present on the island, with EDP Distribuição having the support of the air force.
In April 2020, the installation of the system was completed:
- 70 kWp of photovoltaic generation;
- 150 kWh of batteries;
- 1 emergency generator;
- Inverters, control system and remote monitoring;