This session will showcase how innovative technologies have been employed to improve energy access. The presentations in this session will highlight the major issues regarding energy access and the potential application of innovative technologies to address these challenges. A number of types of interventions will be discussed, such as but not limited to blockchain technology, DC micro-grids, interconnection of micro-hydro project clusters, and the internet of things for solar home systems, etc.
Session Chair: Dipal Barua, Cofounder, Grameen Bank
Jiwan Kumar Mallik, Mini Grid Interconnection Expert, Alternative Energy Promotion Center
Grid Interconnection of Micro Hydropower: An Experience Sharing from Nepal
Improved socio-economic conditions have led to rapid overloading of micro hydro projects (MHPs) in Nepal. To address this, the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC-RERL) has worked on the interconnection of multiple MHPs, targeting improved reliability, load sharing, and availability of power to run bigger loads during off-peak hours—ultimately leading to wider socio-economic benefits through productive end uses of energy access. If the national grid is extended into these areas, the interconnected MHP clusters can easily be interconnected to the national grid. Using an iterative approach that AEPC-RERL has developed in interconnected three clusters of MHPs, this presentation will discuss the financial and economic analyses of deployed interconnected MHPs. The presentation will also explain the need for a synchronizing electronics solution that would allow each MHP of a cluster to sell to the national grid on an equal basis.
Jaideep Bansal, Energy Access Leader, GHE
Direct Current (DC) Microgrids and Tourism to Empower Remote Rural Communities
There are more than 400 million people living in darkness in the remote mountain and island regions of the world, with negligible access to energy, education, livelihood and medical facilities. DC micro grids with low voltage levels are a viable solution for these off-grid communities due to zero risk of an electric shock hazard, when the nearest medical center is 2–3 days away. The solution is affordable, compact and sustainable and is easily maintained by the indigenous local community themselves. This presentation will discuss examples of successful microgrid projects that have allowed communities to move out of poverty, and enabled and empowered local economies.
Yang Kaikai, Cofounder and COO, Energo Labs
Using Blockchain to Further Energy Access through Decentralized Autonomous Energy (DAE) Communities
Energo Labs is using blockchain technology for peer-to-peer energy trading in non-grid connected areas to enable microgrids to meet community demand for electricity using renewable energy sources. The potential of blockchain for management and analysis of these microgrids and their data is huge; however it is often hindered by existing local policies and regulations, infrastructure, education levels, and network levels in the area. This presentation will discuss Energo’s experiences in implementing different business models and infrastructure models such as leasing of equipment for a down payment to create prosumers as a subscription package, virtual net metering and virtual storage sharing economy, using space assets to provide communication network in these areas to integrate IoT and blockchain technology, and different peer-to-peer user scenarios based on geographical layout.
Bishal Thapa, Managing Director Saral Urja Nepal
Aashish Chalise, CEO, Saral Urja Nepal
Scaling Up Distributed Micro Utilities
With Nepal’s emerging political-economy decentralization, federalism has opened new opportunities for distributed micro-utilities. The government has announced plans for every rural municipality to have at least 500 kW of distributed renewable energy, and there are 750 such municipalities. This joint presentation will discuss the experiences of Saral Urja at the forefront of developing rural distributed RE systems – micro utilities, and their keys to success in the model, and potential for its scale up.