Unleashing Island Mode: Utilising Smart Energy Systems approach to ease regulatory constraints on renewable development
Recent reports from IPCC Special Report and the 4th National Assessment state unequivocally that current practices lead to massive disruption from climate change effects. Perversely, all the solutions required to achieve a sustainable <1.5°C are widely known, yet roadblocks exist that prevent their widespread implementation. A large and complex part of this problem is the regulatory environment. Often, legacy regulations from an era before the magnitude of the climate crisis was fully understood prevent projects from proceeding. With renewable energy, dealing with the intermittency problem is the key to removing these roadblocks. Designing systems that are not connected to the grid is an effective way to sidestep these roadblocks however, designs need to be employed carefully, such that critical excess energy and reliability of supply issues are effectively dealt with internally to the project. This is a proof-of-concept study for the design and implementation of a large-scale solar installation in Ghana, where negotiating a power purchase contract with the electricity company monopoly has prevented all except their own solar installations. European companies, that own and operate business units in developing countries, can lead the move to lower the embedded CO2 content of aquaculture protein, increase the reliability of operations, and allows MW scale solar to be installed in a comparatively low regulatory environment. The study shows an attractive return on investment with no subsidies and no connection to the grid which could potentially remove obstacles to rapid development and create a low embodied carbon content market advantage.