Research Papers

The Impacts of Climate Changes on the Renewable Energy Resources in the Caribbean Region

[+] Author and Article Information
M. E. Angeles

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Mayagüez 00680, Puerto Ricomoises@me.uprm.edu

J. E. González

Department of Mechanical Engineering, City College of New York, New York, NY 10031gonzalez@me.ccny.cuny.edu

D. J. Erickson

 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6016

J. L. Hernández

Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

J. Sol. Energy Eng 132(3), 031009 (Jun 14, 2010) (13 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001475 History: Received July 24, 2006; Revised February 10, 2010; Published June 14, 2010; Online June 14, 2010

Assessment of renewable energy resources such as surface solar radiation and wind current has great relevance in the development of local and regional energy policies. This paper examines the variability and availability of these resources as a function of possible climate changes for the Caribbean region. Global climate changes have been reported in the last decades, causing changes in the atmospheric dynamics, which affects the net solar radiation balance at the surface and the wind strength and direction. For this investigation, the future climate changes for the Caribbean are predicted using the parallel climate model (PCM) and it is coupled with the numerical model regional atmospheric modeling system (RAMS) to simulate the solar and wind energy spatial patterns changes for the specific case of the island of Puerto Rico. Numerical results from PCM indicate that the Caribbean basin from 2041 to 2055 will experience a slight decrease in the net surface solar radiation (with respect to the years 1996–2010), which is more pronounced in the western Caribbean sea. Results also indicate that the easterly winds have a tendency to increase in its magnitude, especially from the years 2070 to 2098. The regional model showed that important areas to collect solar energy are located in the eastern side of Puerto Rico, while the more intense wind speed is placed around the coast. A future climate change is expected in the Caribbean that will result in higher energy demands, but both renewable energy sources will have enough intensity to be used in the future as alternative energy resources to mitigate future climate changes.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Climatological monthly variation from 1975 to 2004 of the atmospheric and oceanic variables for observed data. Observed climatology of the wind field streamlines for (b) DS, (c) ERS, and (d) LRS.

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Figure 2

Climatological seasonal and spatial variation from 1983 to 1993 of hourly (24 h) insolation on horizontal surface for (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS. The data is obtained from NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise.

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Figure 3

(a) Annual average variability from PCM for solar radiation for three IPCC scenarios BAU, A2, and B2. (b) Seven climatological periods from PCM for wind speed, (c) iden (a) but for wind speed and (d) iden (b) but for wind speed. The seven climatologies are: (1) 1996–2010, (2) 2011–2025, (3) 2026–2040, (4) 2041–2055, (5) 2056–2069, (6) 2070–2084, and (7) 2085–2098.

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Figure 4

PCM monthly variation in the atmospheric and oceanic variables for current climatology. The y-axis is ordered following the legend.

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Figure 5

Wind field streamlines simulated by PCM for the current climate (1996–2010) and for (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS. (d) Comparison between the observed climatology and current climatology simulated by PCM.

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Figure 6

Seasonal and spatial variation of hourly (24 h) solar radiation on horizontal surface simulated by PCM and for the current climate. (a) Dry season, (b) early rainfall season, and (c) late rainfall season. Climatological monthly variability comparison between the (d) NASA-ESE insolation and PCM simulated radiation.

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Figure 7

(a) Future Caribbean wind speed change simulated by PCM and (b) wind speed comparison between the future and current Caribbean climates.

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Figure 8

Wind power classes classification. The future climatological Caribbean season is divided in (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS.

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Figure 9

(a) Surface solar radiation annual average and its future change for the year 2048, represented by the contour lines, and (b) surface solar radiation comparison between the future and current PCM Caribbean climates

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Figure 10

The future Caribbean climate simulated by PCM for (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS, for the monthly average total solar resource

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Figure 11

Future easterly winds at 48.8 m of height simulated by RAMS and crossing the island of Puerto Rico during the (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS

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Figure 12

Wind power classes classification at 48.8 m for the island of Puerto Rico in the year 2048. The seasons simulated by RAMS are divided in (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS.

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Figure 13

Future shortwave radiation simulated by RAMS over the island of Puerto Rico during the (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS

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Figure 14

Monthly average daily total solar resource for the island of Puerto Rico simulated by RAMS. The future seasons are divided in (a) DS, (b) ERS, and (c) LRS.



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