Weekly Microgrid News — April 7, 2017
Facebook, Microsoft, and investment firm Allotrope Partners have launched a “first-of-its-kind” finance facility to catalyze investments in renewable energy microgrids for underserved communities globally. The Microgrid Investment Accelerator (MIA) will mobilize approximately $50 million between 2018 and 2020 to expand energy access in India, Indonesia, and East Africa. The facility was launched last week at the U.N. Sustainable Energy For All Forum.
Poor rural communities, like Muhuru Bay in western Kenya, are often far from markets where they can sell their products and lack basic infrastructure and electricity. To help these communities, British-based charity Renewable World joined forces with community groups and a private company to set up solar microgrids. With a grant by British charity Comic Relief, fishing cooperatives in the area received solar freezers to chill their catch rather than having to resort to preserving it with smoke, a practice that makes the fish chewier and harder to sell. With deep freezers, small fishing businesses can store fish for up to four days while sourcing for a profitable market.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to the electricity industry. The system is environmentally, topologically, and economically broken and obsolete. But it works. But, so did pagers when cellular phones arrived and horse-drawn carriages when the automobile appeared. “When you are falling, dive” said Joseph Campbell.” Applied to the electricity industry, this strategy for incumbent distribution utilities suggests: “Don’t dilly-dally, don’t prevaricate — plunge headlong into restructuring.”
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