Onshore wind energy potential for Small Island Developing States: Findings and recommendations from Barbados
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are often burdened with high electricity prices whilst being bestowed with excellent wind resources. Wind energy is the most proven of the modern renewable energy technologies and, in areas with a good resource, is often the cheapest form of electricity generation. Many small island states have yet to tap into their wind energy potential. Using the Caribbean island of Barbados as a case study, this paper applies basic engineering processes and a spatial planning methodology to determine an island's maximum potential installed wind capacity. In order to encourage repeated studies for other islands, publicly available global historical hourly weather data is identified and forms part of a technical assessment to estimate the expected annual energy yield. The paper highlights the complexities of wind energy development on small islands when compared with mainland countries and explores the key factors that are to be addressed if SIDS are to make use of their wind resource. Economic analysis of the expected annual energy yield for Barbados predicts a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind of 0.13 US$/kWh (±0.01 US$/kWh), which compares favourably with other forms of generation that are an option for the island.