Renewable Energy based Minigrid Clusters in Ethiopia-REMCE


Start date: 1 May, 2021 End date: 31 December, 2024 Project type: Research projects in countries with targeted development cooperation (earlier Window 2) Project code: 20-M04AAU Countries: Ethiopia Thematic areas: Energy, Lead institution: Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark Partner institutions: Hawassa University (HU), Ethiopia Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy (MoWIE), Ethiopia Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), Ethiopia Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), Ethiopia Kenergy ApS. (KEN), Denmark Gomspace A/S (GOM), Denmark Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Sanjay Chaudhary Total grant: 4,999,804 DKK

Project summary

According to recent studies, around 55% of 110 million inhabitants of Ethiopia (especially in rural areas) have no access to electricity. In addition, the electrified regions of the country, which are mainly based on hydroelectric power plants, are suffering from frequent outages. To deal with these challenges and increase the access to reliable and affordable electricity in Ethiopia, diversifying the energy sources and building clusters of renewable energy-based minigrids with some energy storage systems are proposed in this project. To this end, this project will collect and analyze the relevant data and information to examine and select the most suitable locations and the best configuration of minigrid, and recommends necessary actions and measures to accommodate the energy demand for the remote areas. The project will focus on solar and wind resources in combination with diesel generators, battery energy storage systems, and micro hydropower systems to implement multiple minigrids. These minigrids will be connected to each other and form clusters with high levels of efficiency, scalability, and expandability. It is envisioned that those clusters may have the potential to be connected to the main grid in the future. This project is totally in line with the national energy policies in Ethiopia, the joint Danish-Ethiopian cooperation, and SDG goals of the UN, and its findings/outcomes will provide worthwhile information for the hybrid minigrid development road map of Ethiopia and all decision-makers and stakeholders, including energy authorities, electric utilities, market players, and potential investors.


Midterm report
In the second year, we have finalized the basic electrical design of the multiple minigrids and minigrid clusters.Since the villages are yet to be electrified, the load demand has been estimated after the site visit to the concerned areas and multiple discussions with the partners in Ethiopia. The sizing of different components and their operational attributes with regards to different conditions and cost constraints in the minigrid clusters has been accomplished.
Multi-time scale modelling of the minigrid clusters has been carried out to assess the performance of the minigrid clusters. The short term analyses using dynamic stability simulation of the minigrid helps in the evaluation of the performance of the controllers for the microhydro, photovoltaic and battery energy storage. Likewise, the long term analysis, evaluates the energy management system througout individual minigrids and the mionigrid clusters. Quasi dynamic simulation studies over long periods (whole year) has been performed to achieve these results.
The control and communication system nencessary for the energy management and load dispatch in the minigrid and the minigrid clusters depending upon their operational mode has been investigated. Communication systems based on cellular networks and low-power wide-area (LPWAN) protocols have been initially proposed. Feasibility/reliability and latency tests are in progress.

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