Currently, electricity generation accounts for 39% of emissions in the Canary Islands. A fully decarbonised power system by 2040 would require 10-11 GW of renewable generation, 20-25 GWh of storage capacity and seasonal backup to “move” surplus production to times of the year when needed.
To achieve this mix, renewable generation must be combined with storage, so that excess renewable energy may be used later in periods of lower production.
Renewable development should be based mainly on solar generation, as it fits better than wind power with storage, due to its greater stability and predictability. Therefore, the study proposes a 25% wind, 75% solar mix of renewable energies, which requires less storage to guarantee security of supply and therefore requires less investment.
Likewise, demand management should also be promoted by 20-30%, with a shift towards hours of higher renewable solar production.
Finally, it is essential to minimise land occupation. The study thus proposes installing less renewable capacity than would be economically optimal, boosting the use of self-consumption (up to 2-3 GW) and exploring the option of offshore generation technologies to compensate. The proposed system would occupy 1.9% of the Canary Islands' territory, or 15% of the uncultivated agricultural area.
This decarbonised system proposed in the study would require an investment of €12-19bn by 2040 and would have a generation cost of €70-90/MWh, which represents a 40% reduction compared to today.
In the short to medium term, new renewable capacity needs to be installed to reach 250-275 MW of renewables in the next 5 years, which means multiplying the current rate by 5, a rate that should progressively accelerate. In addition, 2.5 GWh of batteries would have to be installed, and demand management mechanisms introduced.
Finally, actions should be promoted in the thermal plants to guarantee security of supply, facilitate the integration of renewables and minimise accumulated GHG emissions.