Proestler, K. (2014). Zero fossil fuels for the Galápagos archipelago : sustainability assessment of the island strategy towards a 100% renewable energy system [Master Thesis, Technische Universität Wien]. reposiTUm. https://doi.org/10.34726/hss.2014.24925
Renewable Energy Sources; Galápagos; Sustainability Assessment; Zero Fossil Fuels; 100% Renewables; Hybrid Systems; Sustainable Energy Development Trend
The delicate ecosystem of the Galápagos archipelago, a world natural heritage because of its unique biodiversity, appreciated by virtue of Charles Darwin's research, is under threat. Flourishing tourism, a growing population and economic development have increased fossil fuel consumption and dependence. The supply of energy has primarily been based on diesel; while during the last ten years, there have been several initiatives to implement renewable energies (REs) on Galápagos. These have been receiving international support after the accident of the oil tanker Jessica in 2001 showed the possible damage oil spills can cause to the delicate ecosystem. In 2007, the Ecuadorian government emphasized the goal to change the energy matrix by announcing the "Zero Fossil Fuel Program for Galápagos". Since then, some of the fossil fuels have been successfully replaced through the implementation of wind energy on San Cristóbal and vegetable oil on Floreana. Additional initiatives plan to repower the solar park on Floreana, to install wind turbines on Baltra, and solar photovoltaic on Santa Cruz, Isabella and Baltra. The goal of this thesis is to assess the sustainability of the current strategy towards a 100% RE-System and to find out why despite these efforts, fossil fuels have not yet been completely removed. For this purpose, adequate sustainability criteria are defined from the outset and are organized around the four major dimensions: technological feasibility, energy security, socio-economic energy equity and environmental sustainability. Based on these the sustainability of the electricity systems of all four of the populated islands are analyzed. This research found that the deployment of RE technologies could not only support the global combat against climate change by reducing CO2 emissions and mitigate other negative effects connected to fossil fuel combustion, but additionally could also increase socioeconomic energy equity by promoting prosperity, increasing affordability and improving quality of life. From this comprehensive analysis, a set of recommendations are formulated and these suggestions aim at providing an inspiration to reconsider and reformulate the Zero Fossil Fuel Program for the Galápagos with a view towards creating a reliable, affordable, environmentally friendly and socially inclusive energy system.