Electrifying Kenya, Microgrid Economics, & more Microgrid News — February 8, 2017
Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) will spend 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in the next five years to increase electricity connectivity in the country. The funds will be expended to connect public facilities as well as other organizations.
“The plan focuses more on the use of renewable energy for provision of electricity to areas that are far away from the national grid,” says REA chairman Simon Gicharu. “This is expected to enhance industrialization and emergence of cottage industries.”
Last week at DistribuTECH in San Diego, experts debated the future of microgrids with a large focus on the economics of these distributed energy resources, and energy management systems. James Mader with the United Illuminating company, Neetika Sathe with PowerStream, Raj Chudgar with Viridity, Shiv Mani with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and moderator Ken Horne (Navigant Consulting) laid out their views on the future of microgrids in North America and around the world.
Chudar said the challenge is soft costs — legal, regulatory, and financing.The panelists agreed that most existing microgrids received some sort of grant funding or special incentives to make them economically viable, but they pointed to five existing business cases where they believe microgrids make economic sense today.
Chugach Electric Association, along with ABB, is developing a microgrid that blends battery and flywheel storage using a modular, container-housed microgrid solution. The flywheel will facilitate the integration of fluctuating wind power, and the battery (with a capacity of 500 kWh and a maximum performance of 2 MW) will be used for long-term storage. Chugach’s Anchorage-area project could have implications for more distant villages, but in the meantime, it will be used to test scalability and improve power stability for approximately 300,000 people.
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