Friday, July 5, 2013

Microgrid Deployment Forum 2013: Implementing Island and off-grid solutions

Fig1: Transition path from off-grid to full grid connection (Source:
Homer Energy is organising the Microgrid Deployment Fórum 2013, a two-day event that will examine business cases, optimal technology mixes and critical steps for successfully deploying microgrid systems in remote, island, and off-grid environments.
The event will be held next November 8-9 in Cancun (Mexico) and for sure will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together project and technology developers, system owners and utilities, and other energy professionals from across the industry for in-depth information sharing and networking.
As already anticipated at this site (please visit the post "Micro-grids and Sustainable Energy Markets" for further details), the potentality of microgrid market is huge, especially within the off-grid sector, but also as a perfect vehicle for the transition from island systems to full grid interconnection (see Fig1 above)
Key drivers for the deployment of microgrids over the next years will be the attractive financial returns from reducing diesel fuel consumption when including Renewable Energy sources in the generation mix, but also the reduction of CO2 emissions and, not less important, achieving energy self-sufficiency.
Day 1 - Friday, November 8, 2013
Microgrid Business and Technology Issues: Designing and Achieving an Effective Deployment.
The first day  will consist of a series of panel sessions that systematically analyze the key steps and requirements for deploying hybrid energy microgrid systems.
Day 2 - Saturday, November 9, 2013
HOMER Training and User Group Meeting.
The second day will consist of an in-depth, hands-on training workshop focused on the use of HOMER Energy software for the design of such systems.
Topics of interest will include:
  • Microgrid Market Dynamics, Growth & Barriers
  • Recent Advances in Controls, Load Management, Power Engineering, & Storage
  • Conceptual Design and Pre-Feasibility Analysis
  • Non-Technical Factors: Local Stakeholder Issues, Permitting, Community Relations, and Cultural Considerations
  • Financing: Off-Taker Creditworthiness, Capital Structures, & Incentives
  • Microgrid Procurement, Construction, & Commissioning
  • Microgrid Operations, Maintenance, & Management Issues

For further details, please visit:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

7th International Conference on PV-Hybrids and Mini-Grids Conference, Germany, April 2014


Next conference on PV-hybrid systems and mini-grids will take part in Bad Hersfeld (Germany)
This conference, held every two years, is a unique opportunity for end-users, industry, experts and scientists to meet and discuss on latest developments, share experiences on worldwide installations and case studies and learn together on the state of the art of the technology and business models.

Topics of the Conference 2014 will cover:
1. Political, economic and regulatory frameworks

2. Business models

3. System components

- Storage technologies
- Power electronics
- Power generation

4. System technology
- PV-hybrid systems with any energy source
- Simulation and sizing
- Standardization

5. Energy management and grid control

- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Energy management strategies
- Metering and grid / load control

6. User interaction

- Training programmes
- Social and behavioural aspects

7. Field experience and lessons learnt
- Operation and maintenance
- Socio economics
- Sustainability

Call for papers on the above topics has been just issued. Deadline for submissions of abstracts is October 21st, 2013.
For further information, please visit:

Looking forward to meeting to in Germany.
Best wishes,


Friday, February 15, 2013

Micro-grids and Sustainable Energy Markets

At the opening session of the workshop “Facilitating Energy Access and Security: Role of Mini/Micro-grids”, held by United Nations Foundation last September 6th 2012, seven high impact opportunities were identified based on their significance and ability to make an immediate impact towards reaching the initiative’s three objectives. Those Sectoral Action Areas were classified as follows:

ü  Modern cooking appliances and fuels

ü  Distributed electricity solutions

ü  Grid infrastructure and supply efficiency

ü  Large scale renewable power

ü  Industrial and agricultural processes

ü  Transportation

ü  Buildings and appliances

Where micro-grids would fall within the area of “distributed electricity solutions”.

On the other hand, during the “The Remote Micro-grid Market” webinar organized by HOMER and Pike Research last December 2012, we could hear that:

“Driven largely by the falling price of solar photovoltaics, the global remote micro-grid market will expand from 349 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity in 2011 to over 1.1 gigawatts (GW) by 2017, an amount that at least equals all other micro-grid segments combined. The remote micro-grid market is expected to grow to $10.2 billion by 2017, and investors and suppliers are starting to take notice”.

Keeping ourselves in the conservative side, we could still think the potentiality of the micro-grid market is not so promising. So let´s have a look at other sources to see what they say about micro-grids.

According to the 2011 World Energy Outlook by the IAE, achieving Energy for All by 2030 is going to ask for an increase in global electricity generation of 2.5%, requiring additional electricity generating capacity of around 220 GW. The additional electricity (around 840 TWh) is expected to be generated as follows:

ü  44% through extensions to national grids

ü  36% by minigrid solutions

ü  20% by isolated offgrid solutions

Almost more than 60% of the additional ongrid generation would come from fossil fuel sources (half of it from coal). While in the case of minigrid and offgrid generation, more than 90% would be provided by renewables. Renewable energy and therefore related technologies will account for the 68% of the additional electricity required, thus begin a relevant element in the path of providing energy for all.

In fact, if we compare the figures above with the scenario drawn in the WEO-2010 (Fig.1), we will observe there is a steady trend to consider mini/micro grids as a fundamental part of the energy mix in emerging economies over the next two decades.

Given this scenario, it seems obvious that this enormous amount of financial resources cannot be leveraged only from the International Cooperation but rather through the involvement of the private sector and the development of sustainable energy markets. Indeed, the above represents a substantial and largely untapped market for local and foreign companies and entrepreneurs to deliver better alternatives in developing countries.

At this point, we should ask to ourselves… are micro-grids the right vehicle for boosting and promoting sustainable energy markets in the developing world?

Next post coming soon!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2014‑2024: Decade of Sustainable Energy for All

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared the decade 2014‑2024 as the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, underscoring the importance of energy issues for sustainable development and for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.
In adopting the resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed its determination to make sustainable energy for all a reality. The text calls upon Member States to galvanize efforts to make universal access to sustainable modern energy services a priority, noting that 1.3 billion people are without electricity and 2.6 billion people in developing countries rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. It expressed concern that even when energy services are available, millions of poor people are unable to pay for them.
The resolution stressed the need to improve access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources for sustainable development. To that end, it also highlighted the importance of improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy and cleaner and energy-efficient technologies.
Significantly, the resolution recognized the importance of giving appropriate consideration to energy issues in elaborating the post-2015 development agenda. The Assembly called upon Governments, as well as relevant international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders, to combine, as appropriate, the increased use of new and renewable energy resources, more efficient use of energy, greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources, to meet the increasing need for energy services.
The declaration of the Decade builds on the growing interest of Member States in energy issues. General Assembly resolution 65/151 designated 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” and called on the Secretary-General to organize and coordinate activities during the Year to increase awareness of the importance of addressing energy issues.
In response, the Secretary-General launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which brings together stakeholders in Government, the private sector and civil society to mobilize action towards three objectives: to provide universal energy access; to double the rate of global energy efficiency improvement; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
In September, the Secretary-General announced that Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Chair of UN-Energy, will serve as Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Chief Executive of the effort.
“Sustainable Energy for all is essential for achieving our Millennium Development Goals and for opening up new opportunities for growth and prosperity in every country of the world,” Mr. Yumkella said. “It is also central to discussions on the post-2015 development agenda and proposed new sustainable development goals.” He continued: “We warmly welcome the General Assembly’s declaration of the Decade and stand ready to support Member States and all stakeholders in making sustainable energy for all a reality on the ground.”
For more information, please contact: Dan Shepard, Department of Public Information, at +1 212 963 9495, e-mail:; or Cynthia Scharf, Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, at +1 917 825 1494, e‑mail: