Mini-grids for Rural Electrification?
In general terms, grid extensión is recommended only where it is the most cost-effective solution; mini-grids should be implemented at village scale where the cost of grid extension is not affordable; and stand-alone systems are suitable for remote areas with very low demand potential and scattered loads.
On the other hand, according to IEA’s Energy for All, only 30% of the world’s rural populations is currently without access to electricity. They are best served by extending the main grid.
The remaining 70% are better served either through mini-grids (in total 52.5%) or stand-alone systems (remaining 17.5%) These figures demonstrate the huge need for investment in rural electrification in general, and the predominant role expected from mini-grids.
This qualitative approach aims to explain how the cost of the three RE strategies is influenced to different degrees by various conditions, as explained in the ‘Toolkit for politicians‘:
- the size of the community
- the density of the population
- the distance to the existing national grid
- the topography
- general socio-economic factors such as energy demand and economic growth potential
In this context, such “Mini-grid Space” is found where mini-grids have the lowest cost (unsubsidised electricity retail cost on site in EUR/kWh) compared to grid extension and stand-alone systems.
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