27 July 2016 A new mix of power for the ESO installations in Chile: greener, more reliable, cheaper
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Abstract
The highest sky quality demands for astronomical research impose to locate observatories often in areas not easily reached by the existing power infrastructures. At the same time, availability and cost of power is a primary factor for sustainable operations. Power may also be a potential source for CO2 pollution. As part of its green initiatives, ESO is in the process of replacing the power sources for its own, La Silla and Paranal-Armazones, and shared, ALMA, installations in Chile in order to provide them with more reliable, affordable, and smaller CO2 footprint power solutions. The connectivity to the Chilean interconnected power systems (grid) which is to extensively use Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) as well as the use of less polluting fuels wherever self-generation cannot be avoided are key building blocks for the solutions selected for every site. In addition, considerations such as the environmental impact and - if required - the partnership with other entities have also to be taken into account. After years of preparatory work to which the Chilean Authorities provided great help and support, ESO has now launched an articulated program to upgrade the existing agreements/facilities in i) the La Silla Observatory, from free to regulated grid client status due to an agreement with a Solar Farm private initiative, in ii) the Paranal-Armazones Observatory, from local generation using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to connection to the grid which is to extensively use NCRE, and last but not least, in iii) the ALMA Observatory where ESO participates together with North American and East Asian partners, from replacing the LPG as fuel for the turbine local generation system with the use of less polluting natural gas (NG) supplied by a pipe connection to eliminate the pollution caused by the LPG trucks (currently 1 LPG truck from the VIII region, Bio Bio, to the II region, ALMA and back every day, for a total of 3000km). The technologies used and the status of completion of the different projects, as well as the expected benefits are discussed in this paper.
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G. Filippi, G. Filippi, R. Tamai, R. Tamai, D. Kalaitzoglou, D. Kalaitzoglou, W. Wild, W. Wild, A. Delorme, A. Delorme, D. Rioseco, D. Rioseco, } "A new mix of power for the ESO installations in Chile: greener, more reliable, cheaper", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 990659 (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231976; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231976
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