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Optimisation of hybrid off-grid energy systems by linear programming

Huneke, Fabian; Henkel, Johannes; González, Jairo Alberto Benavides; Erdmann, Georg

Background: In this study, a general model of a hybrid off-grid energy system is developed, which can be adjusted to reflect real conditions in order to achieve economical and ecological optimisation of off-grid energy systems. Methods: Using linear programming methods in the General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS) environment, the optimal configuration of the electrical power supply system following characteristic restrictions as well as hourly weather and demand data is found. From this model, the optimal mix of solar- and wind-based power generators combined with storage devices and a diesel generator set is formed. Results: The operation of this model was tested in two real off-grid energy systems, a cluster of villages in India and Titumate in Colombia. Both optimisation processes resulted in hybrid energy systems, utilising photovoltaics (PV), lead-acid batteries and a diesel generator as a load-balancing facility. Conclusions: With respect to small off-grid energy systems, it was found that renewable energy in combination with electrical storage devices help to reduce the cost of energy compared to stand-alone diesel generator sets. The optimal solutions strongly depend on the particular load demand curve. As both PV and wind energy benefit from energy storage, the costs of the battery can be shared and the two technologies complement each other. Finally, although the optimised capacity of the diesel generator remains nearly constant, its contribution to the total power generation is being substituted by renewable energy sources, which serve as fuel-saving technologies.
Published in: Energy, Sustainability and Society, 10.1186/2192-0567-2-7, Springer