Nowadays, 84% of the world population without access to electricity is located in rural areas of developing countries. In particular, in the Andean countries, about 10.4 million people lack of access to electricity, mainly in isolated poor regions. Considering the relevance of electricity in overcoming poverty and promoting socioeconomic development, local-regional-national governments, supported by international organizations, are making efforts to achieve full rural electrification. In this regard, renewable microgrid projects are an effective alternative where the national grid extension has limitations. The literature on the design of such projects is significant. However, when evaluating experiences, most works focus on an analysis of projects’ performance from a technical and/or economical point of view. In contrast, very few literature has been reported on the comparison of such experiences from the perspective of the design process itself and how decisions are taken by project developers. In this article, five rural electrification experiences in Andean Countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) are reviewed, analyzing the decisions taken across the design process and showing the suitability of these technologies to extend access to electricity. In the target projects, first, a preliminary analysis is carried out to estimate the energy resources and demand. Next, the system is designed and implemented to meet the demand using the available resources. The five projects illustrate different options for the electrical generation (single, hybrid or combination of technologies), storage (battery or diesel backup) and distribution (microgrid or individual systems), as well as different methods for data gathering and systems design. In addition, a comparison of projects’ real behavior is carried out and their technical performance in terms of energy production and suitability of the technologies implemented is analyzed. These projects can be a good reference for the dissemination of such technologies in future projects in the Andean countries and abroad.
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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