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Micro-grids supplied by renewable energy: Improving technical and social feasibility
Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Energy Technology. Uppsala universitet, Fasta tillståndets fysik.
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Universal access to electricity stands high on the global agenda and is regarded as essential for positive development in sectors such as health care, education, poverty reduction, food production and climate change. Decentralized, off-grid electrification is deemed an important complement to centralized grid extension. By utilizing a renewable energy source, solar technology for the generation of electricity, photovoltaics (PV) is being considered as a way forward to minimize the environmental problems related to energy use.

This thesis aims to contribute to improving the technical and social feasibility of PV and PV-diesel hybrid micro-grids for the purpose of providing access to electricity to people in rural areas of countries with low level access to electricity. In line with these general aims, the focus has been to address three questions related to challenges in three phases of rural electrification. The work has a multi-disciplinary approach, addressing mainly technical and social aspects of long-term sustainability of micro-grids, in a local context, and the changes these are intended to generate. One specific micro-grid in Tanzania has been used as a major case study.

The thesis is developed through three papers, all presenting methodologies or aspects for investigation in rural electrification projects and studies in general, and for PV-diesel hybrid micro-grids in particular. Paper I puts forward a methodology to facilitate non-social scientific researchers to take social aspects increasingly into consideration. Paper II is a guideline to support system users to increasingly apply an evaluation based system operation. Paper III specifically highlights the importance to consider blackouts when investigating how an existing off-grid PV-diesel hybrid system shall be utilized when a national grid becomes available.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2019. , p. 53
Keywords [en]
Rural electrification, Electricity access, Decentralized, Off-grid, Photovoltacs, PV-hybrid, Micro-grid, Multi-disciplinary, Sociotechnical
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy and Built Environments
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-31156OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-31156DiVA, id: diva2:1375579
Presentation
2019-04-04, B311, Röda vägen 3, Borlänge, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-12-05 Created: 2019-12-05 Last updated: 2019-12-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The use of three perspectives to make energy implementation studies more culturally informed
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The use of three perspectives to make energy implementation studies more culturally informed
2014 (English)In: Energy, Sustainability and Society, ISSN 2192-0567, Vol. 4, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In our research on the social and technical feasibility of a small-scale electrical power system in Tanzania, we have perceived a need for an alternative framework or method for social scientific studies of limited scope. The approach we suggest is also a response to the growing criticism of cultural ignorance with which many energy implementation projects are handled. Theories from Social Anthropology and Sociology form the core of the approach we present. In addition, concepts from Science and Technology studies are used, as well as lessons learned from History of Technology. We suggest that particular attention should be paid to three aspects: identification of social actors, perceptions of change, and long-term feasibility and sustainability. The approach has been developed and concretised through application in our research. To elucidate our suggested approach, we use examples and results from our ongoing research project, in which the 'Three-perspectives-approach' is currently applied. We have combined theories, approaches and knowledge from different disciplines in order to formulate a framework for studies of social aspects of energy projects that is structured, concise and comparable. The approach is developed to target multi-disciplinary researchers with limited training in social scientific research. It may also be used by project implementers, or as a way for social scientists to present their findings in a way that facilitates for non-social scientists to integrate them into practice. We suggest that the Three-perspectives-approach may be applied independently, os as a complement to other tools.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014
Keywords
Three-perspectives-approach, energy implementation, energy transition, social actors, socio-cultural change, multi-disciplinary research
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Energy, Forests and Built Environments, Teknisk och social anpassning av små hybridelnät för förnybar energi
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-13813 (URN)10.1186/2192-0567-4-3 (DOI)
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

Open access

Available from: 2014-02-17 Created: 2014-02-17 Last updated: 2019-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. A user guide to simple monitoring and sustainable operation of PV-diesel hybrid systems: Handbook for system users and operators
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A user guide to simple monitoring and sustainable operation of PV-diesel hybrid systems: Handbook for system users and operators
2015 (English)Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

This report contains a suggestion for a simple monitoring and evaluation guideline for PV-diesel hybrid systems. It offers system users a way to better understand if their system is operated in a way that will make it last for a long time. It also gives suggestions on how to act if there are signs of unfavourable use or failure. The application of the guide requires little technical equipment, but daily manual measurements. For the most part, it can be managed by pen and paper, by people with no earlier experience of power systems.The guide is structured and expressed in a way that targets PV-diesel hybrid system users with no, or limited, earlier experience of power engineering. It is less detailed in terms of motivations for certain choices and limitations, but rich in details concerning calculations, evaluation procedures and maintenance routines. A more scientific description of the guide can be found in a related journal article.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Energy Agency (IEA), 2015
Series
IEA-PVPS T9 ; 16:2015
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Energy, Forests and Built Environments, Teknisk och social anpassning av små hybridelnät för förnybar energi
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-20933 (URN)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Available from: 2016-02-05 Created: 2016-02-05 Last updated: 2019-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Techno-economic study of the impact of blackouts on the viability of connecting an off-grid PV-diesel hybrid system in Tanzania to the national power grid
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Techno-economic study of the impact of blackouts on the viability of connecting an off-grid PV-diesel hybrid system in Tanzania to the national power grid
2018 (English)In: Energy Conversion and Management, ISSN 0196-8904, E-ISSN 1879-2227, Vol. 171, no 1, p. 647-658Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

National electrification plans for many countries with a low level of electrification promote the implementation of centralized and decentralized electrification in parallel. This paper explores different ways of utilizing an established off-grid PV-diesel hybrid system when the national grid becomes available. This is a rather unique starting point within the otherwise well-explored area of rural electrification. With particular focus on the impact of blackouts in the national grid, we evaluate the economic viability of some alternatives: to continue to use the off-grid micro-grid, to connect the existing micro-grid with or without battery backup to the national grid, or to use the national grid only. Our simulation results in HOMER demonstrate that with a grid without blackouts, there are few benefits to maintain the existing system. Low grid-connection fees, low tariffs and low revenues from selling excess electricity to the grid contribute to this result despite the fact that the system does not carry any investment costs. With a grid with blackouts, it is beneficial to maintain the system. The extent of blackouts and the load on the system determine which system configuration is most feasible. The results make clear the importance of taking blackouts in the national grid into consideration when possible system configurations are being evaluated. This is rarely quantified in studies comparing different electrification alternatives, but deserves more attention.

Keywords
Grid-connected micro-grid; PV-hybrid system; Decentralized rural electrification; HOMER; Blackouts; Techno-economic
National Category
Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy, Forests and Built Environments
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-27985 (URN)10.1016/j.enconman.2018.05.107 (DOI)000442972500051 ()2-s2.0-85048282991 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-06-25 Created: 2018-06-25 Last updated: 2019-12-05Bibliographically approved

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