The students from the Master’s in Energy Technologies (MSc ENTECH) and in Environomical Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems (MSc SELECT) based at Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon) visited the Azores island of São Miguel in February to learn about the challenges and solutions for off-grid regions.
Situated at ca. 1400 km west of mainland Portugal, the islands of the Azores archipelago are a good case study on how to increase power generation from renewable energy sources. Securing the quality and reliability of energy supply systems poses unique challenges for islands. Energy imports imply significant economic and environmental costs, yet restricted economic activity can leave appropriate investment options for clean energy out of reach.
“Spending several days in the Açores was an enriching experience. Learning about the barriers and strategies to overcome for the islands helped me understand what needs to be considered electrifying an island grid” said Rudolph Santarromana, a MSc SELECT student in the second year of the master, adding that “the opportunity to visit the beautiful Azores islands was also an added bonus”.
The technical visit to São Miguel island was organized in collaboration with Electricidade dos Açores S.A. (EDA) and gave ENTECH and SELECT students at IST the opportunity to visit a geothermal power plant, a thermal power plant and a wind park. Furthermore, the students participated in a seminar and discussion about the present and future solutions for the energy challenges in the island.