Worldwide, several locations are characterized by abundance of natural energy sources, prone to be converted in power for electricity generation and process-related duties. However, the discontinuity of such renewable energy sources (RES) coupled with their conversion difficulties, results in moderate advantages when a steady power demand has to be satisfied using a single energy source. To overcome the forehead mentioned limitations, profitable renewable energy harvesting can be reached by exploiting multiple RES at once. Such possibility is, in principle, very versatile, thanks to the modularity of the integrated power generation plant, that can be designed based on the energy availability and investment options.
In the present work, the approach of integrating multiple RES was used to assess the technical feasibility of harvesting solar (via photovoltaic panels) and wave energy (via wave energy converters) to supply a desalination unit for the production of irrigation water in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). The available energy from RES was evaluated through the elaboration of weather-climate hourly data, offered by open-access databases. Then, the proper conversion technologies were selected and single production curves were obtained. The integrated system was conceptually designed overlapping the hourly power generations; its performance was assessed with respect to possible duties of the desalination unit. The self-sustainment level of the integrated system was evaluated by calculating the percentage of time that RES can cover the requested power. Based on this, the selection of the most sustainable RES mixing was set, determining, in turn, the final productivity of the desalination facility. The results demonstrated that the integration of different RES represents a reliable and environmentally sustainable solution, especially for remote areas dependent on fossil fuels importation.