Wärtsilä technology enables Graciólica to increase the use of renewables from 15% to 65% in the Azores

Wärtsilä Corporation, Trade press release 21 February 2020 at 16:45 UTC+2
  • The inauguration of the Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant on 20 February 2020 was attended by Mr Vasco Cordeiro, President of Azores. Copyright Wärtsilä.
  • Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant. Copyright Wärtsilä.

The technology group Wärtsilä has completed the delivery of an island grid energy solution on Graciosa in the Azores. The order for Graciólica, announced in January 2018, is a project by HowardScott. It was placed by Portuguese project company Graciolica Lda and supported by its majority shareholder, Denmark based Recharge A/S. The inauguration of the Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant took place on Graciosa on 20 February 2020. The purpose of the island grid is to reduce diesel fuel consumption and maximise renewable energy for the over 4,000 island inhabitants. The use of renewables will be increased from 15% to 65% with Wärtsilä’s new technology solution.

Energy storage is needed to overcome the intermittency of renewable sources, manage the frequency and quality of the supplied power, and provide backup energy to meet spikes in demand. The power plant includes an energy storage system that enables a more resilient and sustainable power system as critical grid asset.

The entire island’s energy management is monitored, integrated and optimised by Wärtsilä’s GEMS, an advanced energy management software system. GEMS software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to optimise multiple energy generation assets based on load patterns and weather forecasting. GEMS's computing technology and logic also accommodates the island's renewable intermittent sources such as solar and wind. Particularly unique to the project is that GEMS does both individual asset control as well as system balancing to maximise renewable energy penetration, something traditionally carried out by system operators. GEMS has allowed the island system to perform at its best while decreasing the cost of diesel power generation. Wärtsilä will also provide software maintenance services under a five-year agreement.

Demonstrating the potential of energy storage on islands

Island grids present a unique set of challenges, particularly the heavy dependence on liquid fuel imports, coupled with a growing concern for climate change and need for reliable energy to provide critical power needs. Energy storage is a sustainable alternative. Wärtsilä’s island grid solution enables maximum renewable penetration, lowers reliance on imported liquid fuels and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant has the potential to eliminate approximately 190,000 liters of diesel fuel per month.

“As a nation of islands, climate change is a matter of urgent priority,” said Scott Macaw, Director of HowardScott. “The Graciólica project is one example of the ways in which we are working to mitigate the effects of the environmental crisis. The island grid integrated and optimised by Wärtsilä will provide Graciosa with an environmental benefit as well as many economic benefits to our local communities.”

“The Graciosa project demonstrates the enormous potential of energy storage in maximising renewable generation in our power systems,” said Risto Paldanius, Director, Business Development, Energy Storage and Optimisation, Wärtsilä. “Today, about 17 percent of global energy generation comes from renewables, but as we move towards higher renewable energy penetration levels, energy storage becomes a critical asset. Utilities and independent power producers are increasingly turning to energy storage systems to integrate renewable sources into their baseload generation to build more efficient, reliable and environmentally sound hybrid power systems.”

Image 1. Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant. Copyright Wärtsilä.
Image 2. The inauguration of the Graciosa Hybrid Renewable Power Plant on 20 February 2020 was attended by Mr Vasco Cordeiro, President of Azores. Copyright Wärtsilä.

Read more:

Graciosa Project Reference
Greensmith Energy will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Azores
Graciosa on the path to 100% renewable energy
Wärtsilä energy storage solutions

Link to video.

For more information, please contact:

Risto Paldanius
Director, Business Development
Wärtsilä Energy Business

Mob. +1 510 5613952

Mirja-Maija Santala
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Wärtsilä Energy Business
Mob: +358 400 793 827


Wärtsilä Energy Business in brief
Wärtsilä Energy Business leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers unlock the value of the energy transition by optimising their energy systems and future-proofing their assets. Our offering comprises flexible power plants, energy management systems, and storage, as well as lifecycle services that ensure increased efficiency and guaranteed performance. Wärtsilä has 72 GW of installed power plant capacity in 180 countries around the world.


Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

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