Sustainable Power Systems
In December 2015, participating nations to COP 21 acknowledged that without immediate action, the currently intensifying demand in energy, water, and food will lead to the predicted greater than 2º C average temperature in the 21st century and agreed to a mitigation strategy. However, the framework stops short of providing a template to accomplish the intended reduction in CO2 emissions, instead leaving it to the individual nations to formalize strategies subjected to international accountability. We recognize that access to efficient and renewable energy services is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Many nations who agreed to mitigation contributions in the Conference of the Parties lack widespread access to electricity, and have framed specific targets of transitioning toward 100% renewable energy by 2030.
In this project, S-lab and CITRIS have partnered with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies to perform microgrid feasibility studies as part of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions focusing on rural electrification. Our goal is to provide appropriate recommendations of technology for renewably-powered microgrids and grid extensions in areas that do not have ready access to technological expertise; to facilitate best practice among governments and civil societies.
Within each project, a team of consultants will travel to the intended area to perform a site assessment for a custom microgrid design. The students/faculty selected as consultants will be from A) power systems, renewable energy and engineering design and B) environmental management and sustainable business development backgrounds. Studies performed at the intended site would include: identification of current and suppressed demand for electricity in the province, measurement of actual baseline sustainable development indicators (as opposed to assumed), identification of income generating activities for holistic development, solar insolation (kWh/m2day) assessment, topographical and spatial layout of the community.