Design and Implementation of Rural Microgrids
Microgrids can combine different power resources, storing and managing energy; so they offer a very adequate and environmentally friendly solution for rural electrification. Current technology allows reliable and cost-competitive energy generation in remote locations, surpassing the convenience of traditional solutions using grid extension or diesel generation by economic and environmental considerations.
Small isolated renewable energy systems have usually been set up to provide minimum power requirements to improve the quality of life of remote communities or families. However, this does not solve the poverty issue because it does not offer an adequate access to a better income. A sufficient, reliable, and cost-competitive energy supply system in remote locations can dramatically enhance the community’s productivity, thus increasing its economic activity and revenue. In this way, the improvement of the quality of life is attained, leading to sustainable development.
This chapter aims to offer some considerations and guidelines to design and implement successful rural electrification projects using hybrid autonomous microgrids. Sources considered are solar and wind with backup diesel, as these are the most widely available. Special attention is given to the sustainability of rural microgrids referred to the economic and social interactions that are needed to ensure their proper maintenance and continuous operation in time. Practical field experiences are exposed to illustrate the relevance of an integral approach to their implementation.
KeywordsMicrogrids Sustainable energy Rural electrification Rural development Remote communities
This work was supported by CIENCIACTIVA under the research project INDuGRID-ERANETLAC/0006/2014.
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