Assessing Tradeoffs Between Solar Thermal and Wind Energy Integration in an Isolated Community Electrical-Thermal Grid
Remote Northern communities in Canada suffer from unreliable access to energy. These largely indigenous communities derive their energy from fossil fuel-powered electricity generators and space heaters. This fuel must be transported long distances, which also contributes to nonrenewable energy consumption. Complicated travel logistics throughout the North further compound the issue. Renewable energy generators powered from sources such as wind and solar can largely address these issues. These
... nerators can provide power on site, partly sidestepping the issue of fuel delivery, and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By employing a mix of thermal and electrical energy generation powered from wind and solar, a remote community's energy grid can serve the three chief residential energy loads: space heating loads, domestic hot water loads, and plug-in electrical loads. MoCreebec Eeyoud Istchee is a grid-connected community located on Moose Factory island in Northern Ontario. This thesis uses the case study of the MoCreebec community to determine the benefits of implementing a coupled electrical-thermal grid to serve the residential energy needs of 140 households. The electrical-thermal grid employs a solar thermal array with (and without) heat pump assistance, a wind farm, an electric heater, a district heating grid, and a thermal storage tank. A model of the proposed energy system is built and simulated in TRNSYS, using a combination of empirical data and estimation methods to determine the community energy loads. An analysis is conducted to investigate how the yearly household energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions of the current grid-connected community fare when compared to a community reliant ii entirely on fossil fuel (i.e. an off-grid community). Findings from the study conclude that in most cases the proposed energy system results in higher household energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions than the current grid-connected case. However, when compared to a more typical off-grid remote community, there are several instances where the proposed energy system cuts costs and carbon emissions by more than 50%. iii Acknowledgements I would first like to thank my thesis supervisor, Professor Jean Duquette of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Carleton University. Without his steadfast support and invaluable input, this thesis would never have seen the light of day.