Title of Paper: Assessment on Scaling-Up of Mini-Grid Initiative: Case Study of Mini-Grid in Rural Nepal
A majority of Nepalese population are living in rural areas, where the electricity access by grid extension is not feasible. Development of micro-hydropower in the isolated state is one of the solutions to provide the electricity to these areas. However, the micro-hydro systems are facing numerous challenges, such as high investment cost, low reliability, low load factor and protection issues. For this reason, the concept of mini-grid has been developed to address the discussed challenges. In this study, a case study of a mini-grid, which is formed by interconnecting six isolated Micro Hydropower Plants (MHPs) with an installed capacity of 107 kW at a transmission voltage of 11 kV, is considered. This study performs the technical and financial analysis, to study the possibility for scaling up the system. Based on different factors, optimum models have been selected, considering a numbers of different cases including cost–benefit and sensitivity analysis. The mini-grid connection of several isolated MHPs is technically possible, but the financial feasibility depends upon various factors, such as the distance between the MHPs, end-use promotion, total capacity of MHPs, future load growth, promotion mechanisms, power trading with utility, etc. The findings show that sustainable operation of mini-grid requires the local capacity building, coordination, and understanding among community cooperatives.
Funded by: CETRF Project (PID: ENEP-CETRF-18-01)