Mini-grid Webinar Series

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Mini-Grids Webinar Series

Renewable energy mini grids are a widely discussed solution for cost-effective and reliable energy access. However, within the mini-grids dialogue micro and mini hydropower (MHP)1 is often overlooked, despite the large number of beneficial projects operating globally, particularly in rural regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Many MHP systems originated as water mills that were upgraded to generate electricity (e.g. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India). Some have transitioned from isolated mini-grids to grid-interconnected systems (e.g. Indonesia and Sri Lanka). As a proven technology with a long track record, micro/mini hydropower is the focus of this webinar series, which will also analyze similarities and differences among the various mini-grid technologies. read more

Each webinar in the series will focus on a distinct and relevant topic, namely Grid-Interconnection, Productive End Use, and Technology Differentiation.

The objectives of this webinar series include:

a) to exchange with practitioners and other experts on the above mentioned key topics (mainly based on case studies)

b) to create awareness on up-to-date developments, barriers and opportunities

c) to strengthen the sector with fruitful exchange on the range of mini-grid technologies

[1] In this context, micro hydropower refers to  <100kW, and mini hydropower refers to 100 - 1000 kW (or 1MW).

1st webinar:Grid Interconnections

Webinar: Grid interconnection of micro/mini hydro mini-grids: What happens when the national grid arrives?

Thursday, 4 May 2017 at 10:00 a.m CET.

As governments worldwide prioritize rural electrification, an increasing number of mini-grids built for rural communities are facing the “question” of what happens to the mini-grid when the national grid arrives. Whether this is a serious problem or rather a big opportunity for the community will depend on a number of parameters.

This webinar will include examples from Indonesia and Sri Lanka where micro hydropower systems have been successfully connected to the national grid and even benefited the local community. For each of the two country cases, local experts will describe how micro hydropower developed in their country, their characteristics, what happened when the grid arrived as well as the current conditions for grid interconnection (e.g. feed-in tariff, technical requirements and economic aspects).

This webinar on grid-interconnection is the first in a series of three webinars on mini-grids.

Stay tuned for our upcoming webinars -- on Productive End Use (June 2017) and on Technology Differentiation of Mini-Grids (July 2017).


2nd webinar: Productive End Use

Once implemented mini-grids need to be financially sustainable. Their operation and maintenance costs are recovered from tariffs, which depend on power consumption. Providing only lighting is a missed opportunity to bring optimal impact to economically marginalized rural communities. Micro/mini hydropower can generate many kWh's -- we need to learn how to make use of them!

Productive End Use (PEU) of energy refers to activities that increase income or productivity in different sectors such as agriculture (e.g. irrigation, grain milling), manufacturing (e.g. carpentry, welding, and sewing), and the service sector (e.g. restaurants using electric lights, sound systems, refrigerators, mobile charging stations).

This second webinar in the series will focus on PEU of mini/micro hydropower systems. It will examine technical preconditions such as grid stability and load management, and options such as mechanical drive for agricultural processing. The increase of load factor through PEU and corresponding increase of the economic viability of the system will be discussed. The webinar will include three examples of systems promoting productive end use in different countries. It will present pros and cons of electrifying "existing activities” versus “new businesses”.

Stay tuned for our third webinar on technology differentiation of mini-grids (July 2017).

3rd webinar: Mini-grid Types

Mini-grids” have become increasingly popular in recent years. The enormous cost of grid extension in rural areas as well as the limitations of household systems (e.g. solar home systems), have highlighted the significance of mini-grids worldwide.

Often mini-grids based on different energy sources are simply lumped together when it comes to project and program design, calls for proposals, and in legal and regulatory frameworks. This third webinar in the series will highlight the important technical and non-technical features, as well as pros and cons, of the above mentioned technologies to create awareness on the need for differentiation of mini-grid systems. The discussion will include: variability of the resource and related storage requirements, average cost per kW and per kWh, creation of local added value, and environmental impact.



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