Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report
Publication: REN21 | Type: Report
Overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
As peer reviewer: Tacconelli C.
Mini-grid hybridization and demand side management on non-interconnected small islands: the case study of Ustica, Italy
Publication: E3S Web of Conferences, 238, 02008 | Type: Conference Proceedings
Small Mediterranean islands are typically served by mini-grids based on inefficient, polluting and costly diesel generators that provide electricity and freshwater through desalination plants. The study focuses on the case study of the Italian island of Ustica, for which the actual consumption and generation load profiles for 2018 have been used to simulate different scenarios through HOMER Pro software. The scenarios tested the possible integration of renewable energy sources (photovoltaic, small wind turbines) and electrochemical storage in the system, based on a techno-economic, financial, and environmental analysis. In addition to generation-side interventions, demand-side management strategies have been evaluated by considering the desalter as a deferrable load and by introducing energy efficiency measures. Finally, a sensitivity analysis on the most influential parameters (diesel price, discount rate) has been conducted on the base case scenario. The proposed technical solutions are compatible with the environmental and regulatory constraints of the island and lead to reduced emissions and long-term savings. The savings would enable a reduction in the cross-subsidy that the mainland electricity users pay to cover the higher costs incurred for diesel generation in non-interconnected small islands.
Cherubini, P., Frate, G. F., Maggiore, M. A., Micangeli, A., & Ferrari, L.
Classification and modeling of load profiles of isolated mini-grids in developing countries: A data-driven approach
Publication: Energy for Sustainable Development, 59, 208–225 | Type: Journal Article
Reaching universal access to electricity by 2030 requires a massive deployment of mini-grids in rural areas of developing countries. Among the many challenges hindering this process, there are the high uncertainties in assessing demand patterns in rural communities, the costs of field survey campaigns, and the absence of ample and reliable datasets coming from existing projects. This paper tries to address these issues by presenting and discussing a database of load profiles from sixty-one off-grid mini-grids from developing countries worldwide, gathered from the literature, private developers and fieldworks, and reported with technical, socio-economic and geographical characterization factors. A clustering procedure led to the identification of five archetypal load profile clusters, which are presented and analyzed together with their load duration curves. Subsequently, the distribution among the clusters of the various characterization factors selected is studied. The proposed approach allows to widen the range of load profiles usually considered, and to seek correlations between the load profile shapes, the peak power and average energy consumption per connection, the number of customers, the age of measurement, geographical position, operator model, type of tariff and generation technologies present. This work establishes a first step in the creation of a shared database for load profiles of rural mini-grids, helping to overcome the lack of available data and difficulties of demand assessment, proposing original insights for researchers to understand load patterns, and contributing to reduce risks and uncertainties for mini-grid developers.
Lorenzoni, L., Cherubini, P., Fioriti, D., Poli, D., Micangeli, A., & Giglioli, R.
Triple Helix as a Strategic Tool to Fast-Track Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Kenya: Case Study of Marsabit County
Publication: In African Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation (pp. 1–23). Springer International Publishing. | Type: Book Chapter
The lack of affordable, clean, and reliable energy in Africa’s rural areas forces people to resort to poor quality energy source, which is detrimental to the people’s health and prevents the economic development of communities. Moreover, access to safe water and food security are concerns closely linked to health issues and children malnourishment. Recent climate change due to global warming has worsened the already critical situation.
Electricity is well known to be an enabler of development as it allows the use of modern devices thus enabling the development of not only income-generating activities but also water pumping and food processing and conservation that can promote socioeconomic growth. However, all of this is difficult to achieve due to the lack of investors, local skills, awareness by the community, and often also government regulations.
All the above mentioned barriers to the uptake of electricity in rural Kenya could be solved by the coordinated effort of government, private sector, and academia, also referred to as Triple Helix, in which each entity may partially take the other’s role. This chapter discretizes the above and shows how a specific county (Marsabit) has benefited from this triple intervention. Existing government policies and actions and programs led by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international agencies are reviewed, highlighting the current interconnection and gaps in promoting integrated actions toward climate change adaptation and energy access.
Silva, I. Da, Bricca, D., Micangeli, A., Fioriti, D., & Cherubini, P.
Optimal Design of Isolated Mini-Grids with Deterministic Methods: Matching Predictive Operating Strategies with Low Computational Requirements
Publication: Energies, 13(16), 4214 | Type: Journal Article
The lack of electricity access is increasingly concentrated in rural areas of developing countries, in which mini-grids are often a suitable solution; however, given the high risks, it is crucial to minimize costs. This paper aims at analyzing existing methodologies for the optimal design of mini-grids combined with different operating strategies. Typical system operations, like the load-following (LFS) and cycle charging (CCS) strategies, are compared with the more demanding predictive strategies based on Mixed-Integer Linear Programming (MILP). The problem is formulated and solved with Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO), so to simulate traditional and predictive operating strategies. Two reformulations based on the proposed Search Space Update are also detailed and compared with the so-called one-shot MILP model, which is able to con-jointly optimize both the design and the operation of the system, in order to reduce computational requirements with the predictive strategy. The results, tailored with data from a rural mini-grid in Kenya, highlight that heuristic methodologies can perform better than the traditional MILP approach, both in terms of optimality and computational time, especially when advanced operating strategies are considered. Conventional operating strategies (LFS or CCS) appear to be sub-optimal, but require very little computational requirements, which makes them suitable for preliminary designs.
Micangeli, A., Fioriti, D., Cherubini, P., & Duenas-Martinez, P.
Ramp rate abatement for wind power plants: A techno-economic analysis
Publication: Applied Energy, 254(March), 113600 | Type: Journal Article
Wind power fluctuations are typical of small size wind farms and may be a limiting factor in isolated small-size systems. An electric storage can be used to mitigate these fluctuations and enable the use of wind energy to provide energy to remote communities or microgrids. This study compares the performance of Li-Ion batteries and flywheels in abating the ramp rates of the power produced by a wind turbine. Production data was generated from actual wind measurements over one year. The capability of ramp abatement by varying storage capacity, power rating and ramp rate thresholds was investigated. The storage technologies were compared from the technical and economic point of views by means of a multi-objective optimization approach that showed the optimal trade-off between abatement capability and costs. The costs of storage periodic replacement, due to the degradation induced by a cycling operation, was also estimated. Results suggest that the abetment of wind power ramps up to 80% can be done at a relatively low price (between 5 and 10 k€). In this case flywheels outperform batteries in term of cost. If a higher abatement effectiveness is required (around 90%) the storage cost quickly increases. In this case the battery outperforms the flywheel and provide the same performance at much lower cost. If strict requirements are assumed, i.e. maximum permitted fluctuations are lower than 5% of turbine rated power, an abatement effectiveness up to 95% is achievable, but the cost may be as high as 25 k€ per year. Otherwise, in case of a maximum permitted fluctuation lower than 10%, abatement effectiveness over 92% is hardly achieved (the cost is over 30 k€ per year). For abatements around 90%, an annual cost between 15 and 20 k€ may be found using batteries rather than flywheels.
Applying the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Approach to Catalyse Transformational Change in Africa
Publication: RES4Africa Foundation | Type: Report
This study, released by RES4Africa Foundation, was carried out in collaboration with OpenEconomics, with the technical support of FSAMGO International Research Groups, conducted a study on CEFA Onlus’ Ikondo-Matembwe project where the Water-Energy-Food Nexus approach has been applied. The study focuses in particular on the transformational and catalyzing effects on Africa’s energy transition, addressing on the one hand the key elements of the project’s success, and on the other its transformative impact.
First, the study quantifies and evaluates what positive development impact a RE-based WEF Nexus project like Ikondo-Matembwe can engender in a local community through a micro-economic and macro-economic analysis. At the micro-economic level, the WEF Nexus acts as a multiplier effect and key enabler for socio-economic development that scales up the supply of basic services such as water access and increased productivity of agriculture that are made possible through their synergic relationship with energy. Those benefits confirm that a scale-up context like the WEF Nexus engenders a chain of diffusion of both general and specific technologies and enhance cascading benefits in terms of value added, production and income distribution as well as contributions to sustainable development goals.
Second, the analysis addresses the transformative impact that could be generated from locally based on synergic components that enable greater production and fuel development of demand through increases in incomes, employment opportunities and improvement in the quality of life.
The study concludes with a series of policy recommendations for greater applicability of the WEF Nexus in rural Africa.
Openeconomics. Among the members of the working group: Gambino, V. & Cherubini, P.
RE-thinking Access to Energy Business Models. Ways to Walk the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Talk in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Publication: RES4Africa Foundation | Type: Report
“RE-thinking Access to Energy Business Models”, is a study that analysed electrification projects, and integrated and innovative business models, in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. From the analysis of more than 20 projects, of the local regulatory framework and of the financial context, a rich panorama of experiences has emerged.
Innovative kinds of partnerships between the private sector and NGOs, public sector and local communities are allowing WEF Nexus-based projects to spread. However, their replicability at scale is hindered by business models that rely on donations and subsidies, and by a high perceived risk by traditional developers and investors.
Integrating investments in renewable energy with investments for the supply of complementary goods and services (such as ice for the preservation of food, electronic devices, technical assistance, and so on), and in closely related sectors (agriculture, breeding, etc.) is strategic to diversify revenue streams, support cash flow and strengthen the socio-economic sustainability of projects. In fact, integrated projects are the ones with better results in the analysis, both financially – with better returns on investments, and in terms of sustainability – with a positive footprint on the community.
Complementary activities clearly have a cost that developers and investors must take into consideration, assessing risks and benefits. On the one hand, identifying local needs and investing in customers and communities makes it possible to stimulate the growth of energy demand, so as to increase expected revenues and improve the economic sustainability of the project. On the other hand, the increase in capital expenditure brings with it greater financial risks.
In a financial market that is increasingly attentive to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to medium- and long-term impact indicators, projects that integrate a water-energy-food approach have a competitive advantage in accessing economic resources. Thanks to financial instruments that enhance the impact and local development, it is possible to reduce investment risks and bridge the gap, still present in the project cash-flows, to ensure the bankability of the projects.
There is great enthusiasm in this growing and innovative sector. On the other hand, the process of maturation of the rural electrification market, and in particular that of mini-grids, still needs targeted support policies and the right kind of finance. Governments, financial institutions and development agencies are therefore called upon to collaborate with the private sector to ensure clear and transparent regulatory frameworks, and to promote financial instruments that accelerate investments in this sector, still too niche compared to the 600 million people who risk to remain without electricity for a long time.
Among the co-authors: Gambino, V. Cherubini, P. & Tacconelli, C.
Comparison among deterministic methods to design rural mini-grids: effect of operating strategies
Publication: 2019 IEEE Milan PowerTech, 1–6. | Type: Conference Proceedings
Mini-grids are well known to be a suitable solution to foster rural electrification in developing countries, and yet risks and high costs are hampering their spreading. Even though effective tools can help developers to identify the optimal design and operation of a mini-grid, no standard approach have emerged yet. This paper proposes a numerical comparison among deterministic methodologies to optimize a rural mini-grid considering the effect of different operating strategies. The typical load-following and cycle-charging strategies are compared to predictive approaches, as rolling-horizon and a one-shot model, which optimizes both the design and operation together. The two latter models allow achieving additional savings compared to traditional operating strategies, but the computational requirements increase sharply. Results suggest that sizing methodologies using load-following or cycle-charging strategies are more suitable for preliminary design, while predictive approaches should be used for the fine tuning of the size of components. This study can provide guidance on design and operating methodologies for rural mini-grids in developing countries.
Fioriti, D., Poli, D., Cherubini, P., Lutzemberger, G., Micangeli, A., & Duenas-Martinez, P.
Ramp rate abatement for wind energy integration in microgrids
Publication: Energy Procedia, 159, 292–297 | Type: Conference Proceedings
This study analyses the performance of a battery storage system in abating the ramp rates of the power produced by a wind turbine. This approach can reduce the wind power fluctuations that are typical of small size wind farms and promote the wind energy integration in microgrids. Production data was generated from actual wind measurements over one year, and the capability of ramp abatement by varying battery capacity, battery power rating and ramp rate thresholds was investigated. The effect on battery degradation due to charge-discharge cycling required by the smoothing service was also estimated. Results suggest that good smoothing performance can be achieved with a wide range of power-capacity combinations, but the lifetime of the storage system can be as low as one year if its capacity is small.
Methodology for the Energy Need Assessment to Effectively Design and Deploy Mini-Grids for Rural Electrification
Publication: Energies, 12(3), 574 | Type: Journal Article
In order to successfully deploy a large number of decentralized energy systems in developing countries, it is necessary to standardize effective methodologies and procedures to develop off-grid/mini-grid systems. Considering that the energy need assessment provides inputs and assumptions used in business modelling and mini-grid design, the accuracy of its results directly affects the technical and financial feasibility studies. Thus, the approach for applying a proven methodology for the energy need assessment of rural communities is aimed at obtaining reliable input data for the mini-grid development. This helps in reducing both the financial challenges by mitigating the uncertainties in electricity demand and the technical challenges by contributing to adequately size off-grid power generation systems, with a view to boost toward a common overall objective of mini-grid’s optimization methods and tools. Hence, taking into consideration that target communities differ in terms of needs and context conditions, the proposed paper describes an inclusive methodology that can be adapted case-by-case. It provides an effective applied solution the lack of proven guidelines from project developers or literature, giving priority to data collection methods able to achieve a large sample representative of the market, with high accuracy in estimating the energy consumptions from electricity substitutes.
Gambino, V., Citto, R. Del, Cherubini, P., Tacconelli, C., Micangeli, A., & Giglioli, R.
Social and Economic Impact of a Waste-to-Energy Strategy Applied to the Winemaking Chain: A Case Study in the Italian Countryside
Publication: 2019 1st International Conference on Energy Transition in the Mediterranean Area (SyNERGY MED), 1–6. | Type: Conference Proceedings
The present work analysed the feasibility and impacts of a biomass-fuelled Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in the Frascati Scientific Park (FSP). The biomass-fuelled CHP will be fed by the pruning coming from the adjoining vineyards of Frascati DOC winemaking chain, thus creating a circular economy on a supposed waste. This process can help an important economic player in the local social community, which is suffering from climate changes conditions. Thus, the local pruning energy potential is calculated and the impacts of the afore-mentioned waste-to-energy strategy by means of a CHP, as well as other solutions in an integrated and synergic model, over the areas of economy, environment, energy, and community are evaluated. The results show how much, with a wider organization, it is possible to increase the direct revenues of the local winemaking of 79,915.79 € and to avoid of 1,213 t of CO 2 per year.
Lamagna, M., Carlucci, M., Groppi, D., & Garcia, D. A.
Energy Production Analysis and Optimization of Mini-Grid in Remote Areas: The Case Study of Habaswein, Kenya
Publication: Energies, 10(12), 2041 | Type: Journal Article
Rural electrification in remote areas of developing countries has several challenges which hinder energy access to the population. For instance, the extension of the national grid to provide electricity in these areas is largely not viable. The Kenyan Government has put a target to achieve universal energy access by the year 2020. To realize this objective, the focus of the program is being shifted to establishing off-grid power stations in rural areas. Among rural areas to be electrified is Habaswein, which is a settlement in Kenya’s northeastern region without connection to the national power grid, and where Kenya Power installed a stand-alone hybrid mini-grid. Based on field observations, power generation data analysis, evaluation of the potential energy resources and simulations, this research intends to evaluate the performance of the Habaswein mini-grid and optimize the existing hybrid generation system to enhance its reliability and reduce the operation costs. The result will be a suggestion of how Kenyan rural areas could be sustainably electrified by using renewable energy based off-grid power stations. It will contribute to bridge the current research gap in this area, and it will be a vital tool to researchers, implementers and the policy makers in energy sector.
Micangeli, A., Del Citto, R., Kiva, I., Santori, S., Gambino, V., Kiplagat, J., Viganò, D., Fioriti, D., & Poli, D.
A Sustainable and Resilient Housing Model for Indigenous Populations of the Mosquitia Region (Honduras)
Publication: Sustainability, 6(8), 4931–4948 | Type: Journal Article
This study develops a sustainable housing model for the Mosquitia region of Honduras, aimed at improving the living conditions of indigenous communities and reducing their vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The improved housing efficiency and resilience will contribute to strengthen sanitation and hygiene, improve the living comfort and reduce environmental impact, particularly focusing on preserving the forest biodiversity. The project was developed following the criteria of environmental, technical, social and economic sustainability to propose a shared model, reproducible by the beneficiaries living in different kinds of Mosquitian ecosystems. Increased building efficiency is obtained through optimization of construction techniques and improvement of materials’ performances. The main material of the proposed dwelling is wood, coherently with the “Miskita” tradition; the increase of its durability, which is obtained by proper seasoning and protection from atmospheric agents and parasites, contributes to the optimization of the use of this natural resource and to reducing the impact on deforestation, which threatens forest biodiversity. The data collection campaign, conducted before developing the housing model design and which has aimed at obtaining information on technical and social aspects related to residences’ welfare and health conditions, has highlighted the great importance of improving the construction model. Despite the advance in sanitary conditions and the economic level, the data collection campaign revealed that even the most developed communities amongst those visited have been perpetrating substantial construction errors, which reduce the resilience of structures to extreme natural phenomena, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, which frequently affect the Mosquitia region. This unexpected discovery increased the importance of housing model design in order to correct these improper construction techniques and avoid their application in the newly-started village growth
Gambino, V., Micangeli, A., Naso, V., Michelangeli, E., & Mario, L.
Economía Verde Rural y desarrollo humano sostenible: El caso de Copén y El Venado
Publication: Unidad de Prospectiva y Estrategia del PNUD Honduras | Type: Report
This document studies the honduran communities of Copén and El Venado, from the perspective of green economy and its complementarity to sustainable human development. These two communities are located in the Sico and Paulaya Valley (APSP) in the buffer zone of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (RBRP), which is protected and conserved as a local, national and international priority.
Sánchez, W. J., Vélez, J., Posas, M., & Yanes, I. Workgroup members: Juan Ferrando, Carlo Tacconelli, Nelson Ulloa, Sergio Palacios y Melvin Cruz