The grid of the future lies 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, on an island in the Azores called Graciosa.

The island has always been dependent on fossil fuels. But in 2018, that changed. That’s when a group of developers kicked off a hybrid wind-solar-battery storage power plant to slash diesel consumption.

The plant consists of 1 megawatt of solar, 4.5 megawatts of wind, and a 6 megawatt/3.2 megawatt-hour energy storage system.

The power plant has changed Graciosa’s energy mix. In 2020, there were 128 days when the island was entirely powered by renewable energy. And Graciosa is now saving 190,000 liters of diesel fuel per month. 

One of the reasons: a piece of control software installed by Wärtsilä, called GEMS. It uses machine learning to balance the renewables and storage on Graciosa’s grid with inputs from meters, heating and cooling systems, and weather forecasts. 

And GEMS is helping grids across the world balance high amounts of variable renewables with energy storage.

In this episode, produced in collaboration with Wärtsilä, we’ll talk with Duarte Silva, the engineer who oversees the island’s power system. We’ll also talk with Luke Witmer, a data scientist who manages R&D for Wärtsilä’s energy dispatch systems. 

Wärtsilä creates smart, flexible power technologies to enable a cleaner grid and put the world on a path to 100% renewable energy. They’re helping clients worldwide meet their clean energy goals in an efficient and cost-effective way. Learn more about how Wärtsilä helped the island of Graciosa transform the grid with the GEMS software.