Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
While the large industrialized nations of the world are disproportionately responsible for the crisis of global climate change, it is small island developing states (SIDS) such as Mauritius that are expected to suffer the most from rising seas. Motivated by the Mauritian government’s commitment to renewables in energy generation, and the critical role for energy storage in any high-penetration renewable regime, we propose a hybrid solar and hydroelectric system to investigate the prospects for pumped-storage hydropower in Mauritius. We combine solar, hydrological, and energy production data to create a synthetic model year to gauge system performance and use the DEoptim package implementation of the Differential Evolution algorithm in the R statistical language to evaluate two potential pumped-storage hydropower sites for overall feasibility and cost.
Though the best solution for a decarbonized electricity grid in Mauritius is likely to include additional energy sources and might also incorporate multiple pumped-storage hydropower sites, our results suggest promising prospects for pumped-storage hydropower in Mauritius. We find that a single installation using existing hydropower reservoirs as a coupled upper unit and a new lower reservoir could meet all storage demands. We calculate the levelized cost of storage (LCOS) for this scenario to be about $0.08 per kilowatt-hour – a figure that compares favorably with the current costs of battery storage.
Though overall per-unit energy costs for our best model would be uncompetitive with current electricity rates in Mauritius, we suggest that the inclusion of other sources such as wind and biomass could further drive down projected costs and make a fully-renewable grid feasible as a solution to the energy challenges faced by this small island nation. Moreover, our results support pumped-storage hydropower as a viable component in a range of different future energy scenarios.
Havumaki, Benjamin M., "Hydropower in the Decarbonized Mauritian Grid: A Prospective Study" (2018). Graduate Masters Theses. 491.