IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2017 - 71

(a)

(b)

figure 7. (a) The Arica city emergency map and (b) tsunami flood areas (blue area), meeting points (green points), and
escape routes (black). This area was selected for the first stage.

Arica-Emergency Microgrid

Diego de Almagro

The project in Arica (a city located in the very north of Chile)
consists of an emergency microgrid based on solar energy.
The microgrid's objectives are to improve public safety and
raise awareness of the possible uses of solar energy in emergency situations.
The technical proposal is based on a solar-powered
microgrid that uses components such as PV modules, diesel
engines, and battery energy storage systems. The microgrid
is designed to be able to provide power supply to meeting
points, shelters, and care centers located in the south zone of
Arica. There is the possibility to sell surplus energy through
a net-billing scheme or use it for electromobility (charging
electric bikes).
The proposed project is in the first stage out of ten, covering part of the city. Figure 7(a) shows the map of the whole
city and the risk area (in blue), which is identified as a highimpact zone under a tsunami scenario. In Figure 7(b), the
specific infrastructure to be covered by the microgrid is
shown in more detail. Technical and financial information
of this initial stage is provided below in Table 1. Incorporating this technical solution in addition to an electromobility application promotes the image of the city as safe and
sustainable. The value of this classification as a cobenefit is
difficult to monetize.
The project proposal includes collaborating with community institutions to guarantee the sustainability of the
emergency microgrid. The involvement of the Arica community, especially those who live in the risk zones, is fundamental to the robust development and long-term sustainability of the microgrid.

Although policy makers and researchers are increasingly
interested in the application of resilience concepts to power
systems, an analysis of this at the distribution level is just
beginning. The modeling of the distribution system is very
important because load recovery can be slower than the
recovery of generation and transmission facilities. Therefore,
it is insufficient to measure system recovery only by considering the availability of generation and bulk capacity. This
was the case in Diego de Almagro (a small town located in
northern Chile with approximately 18,500 inhabitants) after
a March 2015 flood. This town was almost destroyed due to
the unprecedented high level and flow of the Salado river;
it experienced around 50 mm of rain in three days, which is
approximately four times the area's average yearly rainfall.
The main supply points were not affected, but most of the
population was without power for several days due to problems
with the distribution infrastructure, causing additional distress
in a community already suffering devastation. To increase the
resilience of electric service to Diego de Almagro, the government funded a project to investigate different alternatives of
large-scale residential PV generation and develop a prototype.

may/june 2017

table 1. The Arica emergency microgrid project.
Initial investment (phase one
of ten)

1 MUSD

Installed capacity

205 kW

Critical load to be supplied

45 kW (peak load) for 24 h

ieee power & energy magazine

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