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Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development publications
Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: Evidence from India
Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: Evidence from India Katre, A.; Tozzi, A.; Bhattacharyya, Subhes Background: Community-owned Solar Mini-Grids (SMGs) are increasingly promoted to provide communities access to reliable electricity, empowering local actors as they become active stakeholders in projects. However, early failures and difficulties in building local capacity have raised questions regarding their long-term sustainability and ability to be replicated to provide socio-economic benefits to the communities. This study assesses the sustainability of 24 community-owned SMGs in India operating over extensive periods of time using a novel scoring framework using mixed methods to derive its conclusions. Results: The study found that institutional, financial and technical capacities, central for the SMG’s long-term sustainability, could be achieved through community engagement from early stages, if communities are allowed freedom to develop governance procedures while at the same time clarifying roles and responsibilities. This creates strong sense of ownership that is key for effective and inclusive governance. User satisfaction, ensured through provision of usable supply in line with users’ expectations, motivates actors to make regular payments, thus leading to economic sustenance. While social and environmental benefits were observed, energy consumption and engagement in productive activities remained marginal. Conclusions: The study reports an example of community-owned SMG model that has been replicated sustainably over many cases, overcoming key challenges related to appropriate financial and technical management and producing positive social impact. Low engagement in productive activities was more a factor of the local socio-cultural contexts, rather than limited paying capacities of the users. To increase energy utilization and create environments for sustainable rural living the study recommends implementation of systems that link energy with other rural development needs such as agriculture or water provision. The study also recommends more use of qualitative and quantitative data for impact analysis to ensure that conclusions are generalizable and provide rich contextual explanations for the observed phenomena. open access journal Katre, A., Tozzi, A. and Bhattacharyya, S.C. (2019) Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: Evidence from India. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 9, 2
Infra-Red Thermal Measurement on a Low Power Infra-Red Emitter in CMOS Technology
Infra-Red Thermal Measurement on a Low Power Infra-Red Emitter in CMOS Technology Pandey, P.; Oxley, C.; Hopper, Richard; Ali, Z.; Duffy, A. P. This paper presents high temperature characterisation of a novel infra-red (IR) emitter chip based on CMOS technology, using IR thermal microscopy. The performance and reliability of the thermal source is highly dependent on the operating temperature and temperature uniformity across the micro-heater which is embedded within the silicon dioxide membrane. To date, the accuracy of the IR measurement has been limited by the optical transparency of the semiconductor material forming the membrane, which has poor emissivity compared to a black-body source. In this paper, a high emissivity micro-particle sensor is used improve the accuracy of the temperature measurements. IR measurements on the emitter chip were validated with reference to temperature measurements made using an electrical technique where good temperature uniformity across the membrane heater was found. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. Pandey, P., Oxley, C., Hopper, R., Ali, Z., Duffy; A. (2018) Infra-Red Thermal Measurement on a Low Power Infra-Red Emitter in CMOS Technology. IET Science, Measurement and Technology, 13 (1), pp. 25-28
The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial
The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial Boait, Peter John; Snape, J. Richard; Morris, R.; Darby, S. The adaptation of electricity demand to match the non-despatchable nature of renewable generation is one of the key challenges of the energy transition. We describe a UK field trial in 48 homes of an approach to this problem aimed at directly matching local supply and demand. This combined a community-based business model with social engagement and demand response technology employing both thermal and electrical energy storage. A proportion of these homes (14) were equipped with rooftop photovoltaics (PV) amounting to a total of 45 kWp; the business model enabled the remaining 34 homes to consume the electricity exported from the PV-equipped dwellings at a favourably low tariff in the context of a time-of-day tariff scheme. We report on the useful financial return achieved by all participants, their overall experience of the trial, and the proportion of local generation consumed locally. The energy storage devices were controlled, with user oversight, to respond automatically to signals indicating the availability of low cost electricity either from the photovoltaics or the time of day grid tariff. A substantial response was observed in the resulting demand profile from these controls, less so from demand scheduling methods which required regular user configuration. Finally results are reported from a follow-up fully commercial implementation of the concept showing the viability of the business model. We conclude that the sustainability of the transition to renewable energy can be strengthened with a community-oriented approach as demonstrated in the trial that supports users through technological change and improves return on investment by matching local generation and consumption. open access article Boait, P.; Snape, J.R.; Morris, R.; Hamilton, J.; Darby, S. (2019) The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial. Sustainability, 11, 215.
Solar PV mini-grids versus large-scale embedded PV generation: A case study of Uttar Pradesh (India)
Solar PV mini-grids versus large-scale embedded PV generation: A case study of Uttar Pradesh (India) Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Palit, D.; Sarangi, G. K.; Srivastava, Vivek; Sharma, Prerna Despite significant grid expansion during the last decade, globally India has the highest number of people lacking access to electricity. Mini-grid has been suggested as a possible electrification option and the new mini-grid policy of the state of Uttar Pradesh has attracted global attention. Relatedly, the drive for grid extension restricts off-grid areas to very remote locations and enhances the risks for mini-grid projects. Simultaneously, the pledge for increasing renewable energy share in the power supply mix opens the possibility of large-scale embedded renewable energy generation in the rural areas. This paper investigates the viability of solar PV-based mini-grids using a discounted cash flow analysis and considers the UP-policy prescriptions to explore the case of a megawatt (MW)-scale grid-connected solar PV under a power purchase agreement. It identifies the viability support requirements for both cases under different business conditions. It finds that mini-grids are not a viable proposition if the tariff prescribed in UP is used and that other cost minimising support (such as capital subsidy or low interest debt or an output-based subsidy) would be required to attract private investments. Large-scale solar projects, on the other hand, are more viable and can be an attractive proposition for rural electrification in the Indian context. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. Bhattacharyya, S.C., Palit, D., Sarangi, G.K., Srivastava, V. and Sharma, P. (2019) Solar PV mini-grids versus large-scale embedded PV generation: A case study of Uttar Pradesh. Energy Policy, 128, pp. 36-44
Reducing High Energy Demand Associated with Air-Conditioning Needs in Saudi Arabia
Reducing High Energy Demand Associated with Air-Conditioning Needs in Saudi Arabia Boait, Peter John; Alshahrani, Jubran Electricity consumption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has grown at an annual rate of about 7% as a result of population and economic growth. The consumption of the residential sector accounts for over 50% of the total energy generation. Moreover, the energy consumption of air-conditioning (AC) systems has become 70% of residential buildings’ total electricity consumption in the summer months, leading to a high peak electricity demand. This study investigates solutions that will tackle the problem of high energy demand associated with KSA’s air-conditioning needs in residential buildings. To reduce the AC energy consumption in the residential sector, we propose the use of smart control in the thermostat settings. Smart control can be utilized by (i) scheduling and advance control of the operation of AC systems and (ii) remotely setting the thermostats appropriately by the utilities. In this study, we model typical residential buildings and, crucially, occupancy behavior based on behavioral data obtained through a survey. The potential impacts in terms of achievable electricity savings of different AC operation modes for residential houses of Riyadh city are presented. The results from our computer simulations show that the solutions intended to reduce energy consumption effectively, particularly in the advance mode of operation, resulted in a 30% to 40% increase in total annual energy savings. open access article Alshahrani, J.; Boait, P. (2019) Reducing High Energy Demand Associated with Air-Conditioning Needs in Saudi Arabia. Energies 2019, 12(1), 87.
Voltage Stability Index and Voltage Deviation Improvements using Intelligent Algorithms for Capacitor Sizing and Placement
Voltage Stability Index and Voltage Deviation Improvements using Intelligent Algorithms for Capacitor Sizing and Placement Bhatt, Y.H.; Bhatt, D.V.; Pakka, V. H. Voltage stability of each bus of an electrical distribution system along with the deviation of voltage magnitudes from the tolerance limits are two of the most common but significant issues in the present day distribution networks. This work is carried out with the objective of identifying the optimal location and ideal sizes of capacitors to be used in a radial distribution network for alleviating the above problems. An intelligent two-stage methodology is used that employs genetic algorithm and neural networks in order to achieve this objective. By analyzing the load flow study of the base case of load profile, voltage deviation and voltage stability indices are calculated for each node of the system. From these indices, the candidate buses are identified for the capacitor allocation in stage one of the methodology. Then, the combination of two artificial intelligent algorithms based on modern learning methods are employed to identify the ideal sizes of the capacitors for operation throughout the day. This methodology is implemented on a 33 bus radial distribution network. The results of these intelligent algorithms predict the ideal sizes of capacitors with optimal locations, providing a stable system with a smooth voltage profile across the entire duration of the day. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. Bhatt, Y.H., Bhatt, D.V. and Pakka, V.H. (2018) Voltage Stability Index and Voltage Deviation Improvements using Intelligent Algorithms for Capacitor Sizing and Placement, 2018 IEEE PES Asia-Pacific Power and Energy Engineering Conference (APPEEC), Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, October 2018, pp. 422-427.
Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil/Gas Infrastructure: A Decision-Maker’s Perception in the Niger Delta
Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil/Gas Infrastructure: A Decision-Maker’s Perception in the Niger Delta Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Ozawa-Meida, L.; Udie, J. The impacts of climate change arising from flooding, the intrusion of high saline tidewater, rising temperature, wind storms, and rising Atlantic level are exacerbating significant threats to oil and gas critical installations in the Niger Delta. Understanding the hierarchies of vulnerable critical infrastructure could help assets managers in the industry to adopt sustainable adaptation measures against the looming impacts of climate change–induced stress on systems. In this article, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is implemented in prioritising vulnerable critical oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta for effective and sustainable adaptation planning and response. A mix of an exploratory investigation involving interdisciplinary participants’ engagement in focus groups were conducted in four multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta to elicit data for analysis. Participants in the study compared seven selected critical installations using an AHP questionnaire. A Mi-AHP spreadsheet analysis of stakeholders’ perceptions revealed infrastructure vulnerability in hierarchical form: pipelines, terminals, roads/bridges, flow stations, loading bays, transformers/high voltage cables, and wellheads. The study shows that the vulnerability in the region is influenced by exposure, the presence of climate burdens, and proximity to inundated coastal areas below 4.5 meters above sea level. It also shows that critical systems are vulnerable due to interdependence and level of linkages that exist between directly vulnerable and non-directly vulnerable assets. Results also show that vulnerability in the region is due to critical perception, age and obsolescence, and weak adaptive capacity. This study furnished decision-makers in the oil and gas sector with information on which infrastructure is to be protected in terms of adaptation planning, investment, and implementation with particular attention on climate change. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. Udie, J., Bhattacharyya, S. and Ozawa-Meida, L. (2018) Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil/Gas Infrastructure: A Decision-Maker’s Perception in the Niger Delta. The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, 10(4), pp.25-39.
Mini-grids for the bottom billion for a sustainable rural living: What does the Gram Oorja experience suggest?
Mini-grids for the bottom billion for a sustainable rural living: What does the Gram Oorja experience suggest? Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Tozzi, A.; Katre, A. Clean energy access is the golden thread that runs through economic prosperity, social development and living within environmental limits. For the bottom billion, however, lack of access to clean energy sources creates a vicious circle of poverty, poor health, limited human capital and the degraded environment. Electricity provision through local renewable-based mini-grids has been suggested by international organisations and researchers as a possible solution to turn this into a virtuous circle. In recent years, many mini-grids have been set up around the world but there has been limited evidence demonstrating whether these services are sustainable over extended periods of time and whether they are able to catalyse improved rural living in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using data collected from 24 solar mini-grid interventions by Gram Oorja, an Indian social enterprise, we analyse whether these systems are able to offer clean and long-lasting sustainable electricity solutions for the bottom billion, and whether access to electricity really transforms rural living conditions. We use a multi- dimensional sustainability analysis framework that captures both qualitative and quantitative information across many areas. We then identify enabling conditions, barriers and possible interventions to support sustainable rural communities. We find that good quality and durable electricity provision through mini-grids generates positive socio-economic externalities but that electricity supply on its own is not a sufficient condition for delivering the rural transformation agenda. This requires embedding electricity access interventions in an integrated rural development programme, that offers opportunities for livelihood generation, linkages for delivering other basic amenities and strengthening of niche areas (such as circular economy) to support sustainable living. Lack of proper vision, weak institutional arrangements, poor coordination, limited experience at the local level and inadequate handholding are some of the factors affecting the transformative change. A judicious balance between top-down and bottom-up interventions will be required to bring about this change. The study has wider relevance for billions of people at the base of the pyramid. Mini-grids offer them an opportunity to move up the development ladder but it requires developing locally relevant linkages through co-creation. Bhattacharyya, S., Katre, A. and Tozzi, A. (2018) Mini-grids for the bottom billion for a sustainable rural living: What does the Gram Oorja experience suggest? Paper presented at Sustainability and Development Conference held on November 9-11, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.hosted by the University of Michigan.
Competing priorities: Lessons in engaging students to achieve energy savings in universities.
Competing priorities: Lessons in engaging students to achieve energy savings in universities. Bull, R.; Stuart, Graeme; Everitt, Dave; Jennings, N; Romanowicz, J.; Laskari, M This paper presents findings from an EU funded international student-led energy saving competition (SAVES) on a scale previously unseen. There are multiple accounts of short-term projects and energy saving competitions encouraging pro-environmental behaviour change amongst students in university dormitories but the purpose of this research is to provide evidence of consistent and sustained energy savings from student-led energy savings competitions, underpinned by practical action. A mixed methods approach (pre- and post- intervention surveys, focus groups and analysis of energy meter data) was taken to determine the level of energy savings and quantifiable behaviour change delivered by students across participating university dormitories. This research has provided further insight into the potential for savings and behaviour change in university dormitories through relatively simple actions. Whilst other interventions have shown greater savings, this project provided consistent savings over two years 7% across a large number of university dormitories in five countries through simple behaviour changes. An energy dashboard displaying near a real-time leaderboard was added to the engagement in the second year of the project. Whilst students were optimistic about the role that energy dashboards could play, the evidence is not here to quantify the impact of dashboards. Further research is required to understand the potential of dashboards to contribute to behavioural change savings and in constructing competitions between people and dormitories that are known to each other. SAVES provided engagement with students, enabling, empowering and motivating them to save energy – focusing specifically on the last stage of the ‘Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action’ framework. Automated meter reading data was used in the majority of participating dormitories to run near real-time energy challenges through an energy dashboard that informed students how much energy they saved compared to a target, and encouraged peer-to-peer learning and international cooperation through a virtual twinning scheme. Findings from energy saving competitions in universities are typically from small-scale and short-term interventions. SAVES was an energy-saving competition in university dormitories facilitated by the UK National Union of Students in five countries reaching over 50,000 students over two academic years (incorporating dormitories at 17 universities). As such it provides clear and important evidence of the real-world long-term potential efficiency savings of such interventions. open access article Bull, R. et al (2018) Competing priorities: Lessons in engaging students to achieve energy savings in universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.
SPaCE- Sensory Processing and Classroom Environments: Methodology for evaluating and improving teaching spaces for better student experience
SPaCE- Sensory Processing and Classroom Environments: Methodology for evaluating and improving teaching spaces for better student experience Bassford, Marie; Painter, B. SPaCE combines building assessment and pedagogic research to establish improved ‘inclusive learning spaces’ to improve the health and wellbeing of all students, including those with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses. This creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks and impacts upon many aspects of life including motor clumsiness, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression and school/college/university performance. Preliminary research has shown that this can affect the quality of the student experience and thereby their progression and retention. Whilst it is accepted that students with physical disabilities have specific environmental requirements and, where possible, reasonable adjustments are made, specific requirements for students with SPD are not normally considered at University. Practitioner experience in other educational contexts suggests that the physical layout of a classroom may be adapted to maximise student participation and engagement, enabling all students to benefit from a non-traditional classroom layout, but no academic research exists. The SPaCE methodology involves capture of data about the physical environment (lighting, temperature, air quality etc) simultaneously with the student experience in typical classrooms (through physical measurements, Sensory Profile questionnaires, observations, interviews and focus groups). This multi-method data set will provide us with a better understanding of conditions and how they are experienced by students, and to identify areas for improvement, to be implemented in a campus demonstrator project. The aim of the project is to provide guidelines for improved teaching provision, in terms of sensory processing issues, for dissemination within the wider education sector. This paper reports on an on-going project – the main rationale and methodology are described, with a focus on the mixed-method data collection approach and setup of the pilot study. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the URI link. Bassford, M. and Painter, B. (2018) SPaCE- Sensory Processing and Classroom Environments: Methodology for evaluating and improving teaching spaces for better student experience. In: Elsharkawy, H., Zahiri, S., Clough, J. (eds) Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SDBE18), 14-16 September 2018, London, UK.
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