Article

Survey Based Characterisation of Energy Services for Improved Design and Operation of Standalone Microgrids

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Abstract

Microgrids for rural electrification are expected to play a key role in achieving global energy access goals. However, the high cost of stand-alone microgrids intended to serve generally poor communities remains a key barrier to their deployment, while design and operation is challenging, given generally low diversity of loads and generators, and often high penetrations of variable renewable generation. Current practices for providing electricity access still often focus on the supply side with an emphasis on ensuring the reliability, affordability and security of electricity supply to meet user demand. This supply focus misses some key opportunities on the demand-side for providing low cost and reliable energy service delivery. In particular, rural communities may place very different relative values on various energy services, while there may be considerable flexibility in terms of when some of these energy services are delivered; due to inherent energy storage in the end-use equipment, or user willingness to shift the energy service itself. This paper presents a novel characterisation framework for energy services based on their relative flexibility and consumer prioritisation. Detailed survey data from 154 households across five microgrid sites in Nepal is used to test this framework, and assess the potential insights that it can provide for microgrid designers and operators seeking to reduce costs and improve reliability when serving poor rural communities. The five microgrids represent very different energy services and microgrid technology contexts, yet all would appear to have demand-side management opportunities that can trade-off cost and reliability and prioritise loads according to user preferences.

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... In the present context, the continuous availability of energy and its quality is a major concern. Several studies [9,10], presented the survey results on how the sources connected to the grid affect the system reliability. It was shown that the RES have low availability and can cause performance fluctuation because of their periodic and unpredictable nature [11,12]. ...
... However, a question arises on the prioritization of the appliances and its basis. Shakya et al. [9], present a framework on prioritization of load in rural household based on user preference and storability of the load. However, various technical measures like reliability, stability and protection issues are to be considered during the implementation at the real site. ...
... The sources are connected so that the solar generation holds higher priority and battery are used as a backup. To test the system in realistic condition, the sample for the demand of a scale-downed load at the rural community has been taken, and the loads are divided into three categories depending upon their level of necessity as in [9]. These loads are provided with different level of priorities in the power system. ...
Article
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This paper discusses the current state of DC distribution system, how it can be beneficial to isolate solar-based Micro-Grid (MG) system in a rural area, and how the priority-based approach can help the MGs to operate in cost-effective and reliable ways. DC distribution system holds many advantages over AC systems in such area, where the load demand is not so high and the electricity supply through grid extension is not feasible. Direct load control-based approach can ensure a continuous supply of power to the loads with various priorities. In this paper, an experimental analysis of the DC MGs has been presented with the help of priority based algorithms. A cost-effective SCADA system is developed to interface with the remaining parts of the system, so that the MGs can be monitor and control to get the desired performance. The main objective of this study is to identify a cost-effective and practical energy management system for the rural area, where expensive and advanced technology is not suitable. From this study, it is concluded that the proposed combination of algorithm and SCADA system increase the system's reliability and power consistency significantly.
... Taking the case of Nepal, more than 55 MW of electricity has been produced from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) like mini/micro-hydropower plants (MHP), solar and wind energy, which fulfils the electrical demand of 3.6 million households [10]. However, different MGs in Nepal face issues on availability, as the average availability of electricity varies from eight hours in a day in minimum for the solar/wind MGs, and up to 23 h of supply for the Micro Hydropower Plant (MHP) [11]. This indicates a deficit of supply in these rural MGs. ...
... This indicates a deficit of supply in these rural MGs. Literature shows that researches have been conducted for the design of the reliable system and to reduce the cost through various means like interconnection of MGs [12], optimization of generation technology [7,[13][14][15], finding the optimal way to share surplus energy between gridlines [7], load management [6,11]. However, these researches only focus on managing energy from the generation side [16,17]. ...
... To shift, shed or adjust the consumption, understanding these loads becomes very important. Studies tend to perform the load classification based on user preference, energy demand, and flexibility [6,11]. As loads are the appliances being used in each household, researchers classified the appliances as static and dynamic [25], shed-able and unshed-able [6], critical and uncritical [26], programmable and dimmable load [2], and so on based on their power consumption and behaviour of their use. ...
Article
Microgrid (MG) is one of the practical and best concepts to provide energy access to rural communities, where electric grid extension is not techno-economically feasible. Since the trend of load consumption is not uniform with a low load factor in a rural area, the required rating of the system becomes very high. Similarly, the generation is fixed for these MGs, whereas the load increases continuously over time. Such a system faces supply deficit issues triggering a high number of interruptions that may cause frequent blackouts. Hence, rolling blackout and load clipping techniques are preferred during the peak load period in most of the rural MGs. These issues lead to an unreliable power supply and low satisfaction level of the user. This paper presents the load prioritization technique to guarantee the continuous supply for the essential loads within the rural community. A day-ahead energy allocation technique is mathematically formulated and optimized to maximize the total hours of energy served. This technique maximized the hours of energy served to the load with higher priority followed by the load with lower priorities. From this study, it is found that the proposed strategy helps to improve the hours of energy served in the overall system, by improving the state of charge (SoC) level of the battery system. The result shows that the user satisfaction level has been improved by 5% through 100% of continuity for the essential loads.
... In the design phase, there was proactive planning for demand projections, while in the O&M phase, the community actively participated in matching demand to supply. For example, community participation was cited as instrumental in changing patterns of energy consumption [84] and avoiding overuse [25]. Over-consumption was mitigated by the early inclusion of the community [85][86][87]. ...
... Over-consumption was mitigated by the early inclusion of the community [85][86][87]. This was not an explicit goal set by the operators, but rather an aspect of the mini grid project for which community participation was found to be effective in practice [25,[84][85][86][87]. ...
Article
Mini grids are increasingly recognized as a solution for the 840 million people globally without access to electricity and for the additional millions of people poorly served by traditional grid infrastructure. Understanding the role and importance of community participation in mini grid inception, design, build, and operations and maintenance will be essential to sustainably achieving universal access. This review analyzes the literature on community participation in private mini grid projects: how community participation is defined, in which phases of the project it arises, and how it affects the project's sustainability. We find that community participation is almost universally invoked as essential to system sustainability. Community participation most often appears in the operations and maintenance phase, leading to a positive social sustainability. We compile best practices, such as initiating participation early, pursuing wide inclusion, investing in community technical capacity, and creating clear governance models. Finally, we provide a framework and accompanying survey tool to gather information on community participation in mini grid systems to attenuate literature gaps. Community participation in mini grid projects should be leveraged to accelerate universal electricity access and green economic recovery, but it must go beyond surface level customer acquisition.
... suitable solution to provide electricity [3]. However, there are numerous challenges in isolated energy system such as high-cost, poor reliability, weak power quality, low load factor, poor maintenance, weak institutional structure lack of proper monitoring and supervision etc. [4]- [6]. As the nature of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) is fluctuating and highly dependent on weather, the generated energy is also unpredictable, which can be addressed via the integration of storage devices or/ and by interconnecting multiple energy resources [7]- [9]. ...
... Whereas, in Baidi MG 5P Business Model namely flagship business model is implemented where a committee of five members (three from the private company and two from the community) is formed for complete maintenance and operation activities. Likewise, MGs of Nepal are owned by combination among community, cooperative, private company, rural market centre, governmental bodies for the upliftment of renewable energy and the governing body is formed by elected representatives of owners [4]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nepal is a Himalayan country with its 83% of its geography being composed of hills and mountains. Around 22% of the Nepalese population is not receiving electricity through the national power utility and is forced to identify alternative approaches to electrification. The Micro/Mini-Grid (MG) system is one of the promising approaches in terms of cost, reliability and performance for rural electrification, where electrification through national power utility is not techno-economically feasible. However, various issues must be identified and considered during the implementation of MGs in a rural community. In this paper, numerous technical, social and management issues are identified and discussed relating to the implementation and operation of reliable and stable MGs in the Himalayas. To our knowledge, this is the first scientific work that presents a comprehensive review of Himalayan MGs and their associated elements. This article reviews the available research articles, project documents, and Government reports on MG development, from which a clear roadmap is constructed. From the comprehensive study, it is observed that the existing MGs are not adequately designed for the specific area, considering the local resources and local information. Based on the identified issues, some practical and efficient recommendations have been made, so that future MG projects will address the possible problems during the design and implementation phase.
... Moreover, conventional approaches to rural electrification systems design need to be re-evaluated and design solutions must be conceptualized to achieve reliable, affordable, and sustainable electrification despite uncertain load development and very low demand [39]. While the estimation of load demand is considered crucial in the design and sizing of electrification systems [40][41][42], other factors related to the sustainability of electrification systems are also equally vital. Consequently, it is also important to ensure that policy interventions are in place, especially through financial measures such as subsidies and incentives, particularly when private sector investment is required [43]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Techno-economic viability assessments of rural electrification projects, especially those that integrate renewable energy technologies, typically look at system design optimization that would yield the most favorable cost and investment scenarios. However, the true viability of these projects relies more importantly on their impact to the rural communities while ensuring positive financial returns to the project developers. This paper aims to expand the viability assessment of electrification projects in off-grid island communities in order to mainly address the apparently opposing needs of the major stakeholders at play by developing a viability assessment framework considering the techno-economic dimensions as well as the socio-economic impacts to the consumers. The analysis follows a two-phase approach, where system design optimization and financial impact calculations are done in the first phase and the socio-economic viability is accomplished in the second phase. Results suggest that high capital investment for renewable energy has a better pay-off when there is higher demand for electricity. On the other hand, consumers also tend to receive higher economic benefit as they consume more electricity. However, the low income of rural consumers strains their capacity to pay, which necessitates their engagement in more economically-productive uses of electricity. The viability assessment framework can be a useful tool for both investors and consumers as this provides important insights which can be translated into impactful interventions that may include government support through improved policy implementation that can positively sustain electricity access in off-grid communities through renewable energy.
... There is also a tendency for project developers to focus on designing a reliable and affordable electricity generation system, neglecting the demand aspect, the values placed by the end-users on the energy service, and the consumers' preferences in terms of electricity consumption [37]. The need for social acceptance of renewable energy technologies has been highlighted in numerous sustainability studies for energy access as this also impacts how communities are motivated to consume electricity [38][39][40]. ...
Article
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The most practical solution for over 70% of the world’s unelectrified population is decentralized electrification, usually with renewable energy integration. The sustainability of these systems has been a central issue with studies looking at its multidimensional nature. However, perhaps the most overlooked aspect is the ability of the consumers to proactively use electricity. This paper addresses this urgent need to understand not just the sustainability from exogenous factors but, more importantly, from the factors that motivate the end-users to consume electricity. Applying the concept of user-perceived value (UPV) in electrification, a proposed multidimensional assessment framework, consisting of 12 motivators, was grouped according to UPV categories. Using a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire, 29 beneficiaries in Gilutongan Island, Cordova, Cebu, Philippines, were asked to evaluate their motivation to consume electricity, six months after they were provided with increased electricity access through a 7.92 kWp solar photovoltaic installation. Analysis showed that the households regarded 9 of the 12 factors as moderate to strong motivators, with better social standing compared to other households without electricity and the ability to engage in productive uses of electricity emerging as the strongest influencers. The proposed framework is deemed beneficial to policy-makers to pragmatically understand what drives rural households to proactively consume electricity and implement developments and policies to stimulate an increase in demand.
... Sur la caractérisation des services, il y a de nombreuses études qui portent sur la question de l'efficacité des services pour changer l'état des éléments d'entrée identifiés (Jalili Marand, Tang, & Li, 2018;Shakya, Bruce, & MacGill, 2019). Certaines classent les services sans entrer dans les détails de la définition de ces caractéristiques (Paglialonga, Lugo, & Santoro, 2018). ...
Thesis
Le secteur médico-social français est un secteur dans lequel sont développées les différentes actions visant à aider et accompagner les personnes en situation de vulnérabilité. Ce secteur concerne notamment des personnes en situation de handicap (PSH). Selon la situation de la PSH, celle-ci peut requérir un accompagnement médico-social adapté, qui lui fournit des éléments pour mener une vie, presque, comme toute autre personne. Généralement, ces accompagnements sont développés dans le cadre des établissements et services médico-sociaux (ESMS) spécialisés. Si la personne souhaite accéder à cet accompagnement, elle doit adresser une demande à la maison départementale des personnes handicapées (MDPH). Une équipe pluridisciplinaire (EP) analyse la demande et propose à la personne une liste des établissements considérés comme appropriés à la situation de la personne. Ce processus est appelé le processus d'orientation des personnes en situation de handicap et présente plusieurs problèmes que cette thèse cherche à résoudre. Le processus actuel est souvent trop long, il ne conduit pas toujours à formuler des propositions réellement applicables, et un nombre conséquent de personnes peuvent se retrouver sans solutions. L’hypothèse principale de cette thèse, qui cherche à améliorer le processus d’orientation, repose sur un changement de paradigme de cette orientation. Au lieu de proposer une liste d’établissements à la personne comme le fait actuellement l'EP, il s'agit de préconiser une liste de prestations capable de répondre à ses besoins au préalable plus précisément identifiés, ces prestations pouvant être fournies par un ou plusieurs établissements. Pour mettre en œuvre ce changement de paradigme vers une politique besoins-prestations, nous avons été amenés à proposer une démarche de modélisation des processus complexes dans lesquels interviennent des acteurs autonomes. Cette démarche a été utilisée pour la modélisation du processus d’orientation, pour le comprendre en détail et en analyser ses problèmes. Nous avons par la suite proposé une démarche de caractérisation des services (aspects qualitatifs et quantitatifs) qui a été mise en œuvre pour la caractérisation des prestations médico-sociales, afin d'identifier les dimensions des prestations à prendre en compte dans politique d'orientation que nous proposons. Enfin, nous présentons un modèle mathématique d’affectation à horizon glissant basé sur la programmation linéaire. Ce modèle permet de faire des propositions d’orientation selon la politique besoins-prestations. Il a été testé avec un ensemble de données représentatives de l’activité réelle d’une organisation gestionnaire d’ESMS pour faire émerger certaines bonnes pratiques organisationnelles.
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