Methodology for energy transition evaluation : case study, the Balearic Islands, Spain
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In a world full of inequalities, energy disparity directly affects development. Developed societies are focused on renewable energies while developing countries are investing in all the different types of energy resources. However, all countries have something in common, the necessity to provide energy to society under the best economic and environmental conditions. This study describes a global methodology for energy transition evaluation applied to the Balearic Islands, Spain. This region is an archipelago 100 miles away from the Iberian Peninsula, well-known as part of the environmental protection program Natura 2000 network. In terms of electricity generation, it is a semi- isolated system where the islands are interconnected and have a connection to the peninsular electric system that covers an average of 22.5% of the energy demand of the archipelago. Almost 95% of the remaining demand is supplied by non-renewable resources. Since European legislation has set goals to promote cleaner energy generation, this document studies all the technically and legislatively viable energy resources in this region and evaluates the trade-offs of transitioning following different strategies. In the first part of the methodology, existing technologies like fossil fuels, onshore wind power, and utility-scale solar are accepted as potential future resources. In addition, new options like microwind, distributed solar PV, hybrid and concentrating solar, and biomass are assessed as viable while others are discarded. During the second part of the analysis, the energy transition in the period 2020 to 2030 is evaluated according to 4 possible scenarios to meet demand: (1) natural gas focus, (2) submarine connection expansion, (3) 50% natural gas/ 50% renewables, and (4) 20% renewables/ 40% natural gas/ 40% submarine connection expansion. The parameters involved in this analysis consider tourism rates, electric vehicle penetration, electricity market prices, and 5 environmental impact indices (global warming, eutrophication, ecotoxicity, particulate matter, and land use). Results show that coal and diesel are responsible for higher environmental impacts, renewables land use could limit their expansion, natural gas use is subject to energy security constraints, and submarine connection expansion, although the best option, could encounter social challenges. In conclusion, this methodology helps to identify trade-offs of different approaches which can be used for technical and strategic analysis.