HOMER Energy has renewed its contract with the US Agency for International Development and Tetratech to design hybrid renewable energy systems for rural health clinics and hospitals in Haiti. Called “Powering Health,” the work includes updates to a simplified online model of the HOMER software www.homerenergy.com customized to the needs of rural health clinics.
The Haiti project is for a great example of how HOMER can be customized for specific applications. HOMER originally grew out of the Village Power program at NREL 18 years ago. Although HOMER is now of increasing interest to the military, utilities and even entire cities looking at complex smart microgrid designs – we’ve designed our simplified online “Powering Health” tool to be easy to use for non-engineers.
Haiti’s electric grid has always been notoriously unstable. Frequent unscheduled power outages are the rule of thumb for areas lucky enough to have any grid at all. Since the earthquake the situation has become even worse. Now more than ever, Haiti needs reliable electricity for its medical facilities, which are stressed to the breaking point servicing homeless earthquake survivors in addition to Haiti’s large HIV-infected population.
On a personal note, this project has even more meaning for me. Walt Ratterman www.beyondthecallthemovie.com was one of the real superstars bringing clean, reliable power to the poorest places in the world. He was an important part of the project providing us with feedback from the field. Unfortunately, he happened to be in Haiti during the earthquake and lost his life. That could have been the end of the project, but with the help of USAID and Tetratech, we are carrying on in his memory.