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Electrical minigrids for development: Lessons from the field

Electrical minigrids for development: Lessons from the field
Electrical minigrids for development: Lessons from the field
Energy services are crucial to human wellbeing and development, and without reliable energy, it is difficult to escape subsistence lifestyles and poverty. Here, we report on four identical capacity rural minigrid interventions undertaken in Kenya and Uganda with differing socioeconomic characteristics and demographics. The research outcomes presented briefly discuss the preparation stages of the interventions including community surveys that informed the technical design, deployment phases, and setup of the community cooperatives to manage the minigrid projects. The main focus here is on lessons learned, including system design and minigrid performance under various load profiles. The results show a clear and increasing uptake of power by the communities with intensities varying depending on the electricity tariff used. Across the four minigrids, daily electricity growth rates are seen to vary by a factor of 8. The Ugandan minigrids operated at close to utility grid tariff and reached the 28-kWh/day design limit within two years. By contrast, the Kenyan minigrids charged a higher cost recovery tariff, which capped the demand and systems operate below the design limit. These findings have implications not only to system design but also to system stability and longevity. The approach taken here, of community centered cooperatives running the delivered minigrids, is now embedded within the rural electrification authorities/agencies in both countries, with additional similar projects being planned in 2019/2020. The application, ramifications, and replication of such a minigrid concept as compared to other approaches are also discussed in this paper.
Economics , Renewable energy sources , Sociology , Statistics , Africa , Government , Microgrids
0018-9219
1967-1980
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Bahaj, Abubakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b

Bahaj, Abubakr and James, Patrick (2019) Electrical minigrids for development: Lessons from the field. Proceedings of the IEEE, 107 (9), 1967-1980. (doi:10.1109/JPROC.2019.2924594).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Energy services are crucial to human wellbeing and development, and without reliable energy, it is difficult to escape subsistence lifestyles and poverty. Here, we report on four identical capacity rural minigrid interventions undertaken in Kenya and Uganda with differing socioeconomic characteristics and demographics. The research outcomes presented briefly discuss the preparation stages of the interventions including community surveys that informed the technical design, deployment phases, and setup of the community cooperatives to manage the minigrid projects. The main focus here is on lessons learned, including system design and minigrid performance under various load profiles. The results show a clear and increasing uptake of power by the communities with intensities varying depending on the electricity tariff used. Across the four minigrids, daily electricity growth rates are seen to vary by a factor of 8. The Ugandan minigrids operated at close to utility grid tariff and reached the 28-kWh/day design limit within two years. By contrast, the Kenyan minigrids charged a higher cost recovery tariff, which capped the demand and systems operate below the design limit. These findings have implications not only to system design but also to system stability and longevity. The approach taken here, of community centered cooperatives running the delivered minigrids, is now embedded within the rural electrification authorities/agencies in both countries, with additional similar projects being planned in 2019/2020. The application, ramifications, and replication of such a minigrid concept as compared to other approaches are also discussed in this paper.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 June 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 August 2019
Published date: September 2019
Keywords: Economics , Renewable energy sources , Sociology , Statistics , Africa , Government , Microgrids

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433497
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433497
ISSN: 0018-9219
PURE UUID: cbe1f482-f4a5-4fe4-a489-6ea6fd95ba0d
ORCID for Abubakr Bahaj: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0043-6045
ORCID for Patrick James: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2694-7054

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Date deposited: 23 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 16:42

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