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Session 3: Energy Services: Rural Electricity – Barriers to and Incentives for Promoting Renewables B2.

Mini Grid Systems – Standards and Regulation Terry Mohn, CEO General Microgrids, Inc Chairman, United Nations Foundation Microgrid Workgroup

Sustainable Energy for All
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on governments, businesses, and civil society to make significant commitments to accomplish three objectives by 2030:

Energy Access Practitioner Network
• As part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, the UN Foundation launched a global Energy Access Practitioner Network in July 2011 to help develop a more integrated approach to energy access planning and execution. • The Network currently hosts a membership of more than 500 individuals and 350 organizations, constituting a regionally balanced representation from private sector, non-profit, civil society, donor/investor and practitioner partners. • The Network seeks to catalyze the broader use of a range of sustainable energy solutions with an emphasis on mini- and offgrid options, using innovative financial and business models in a range of developing country contexts.

Working Group: Micro/Mini Grids Policy
• Establish regulations to support development of microgrids that produce less than 40 MW • Create robust power purchase agreements that include infrastructure • Promote the use of local, clean energy in microgrids – maximize natural resources

Working Group: Micro/Mini Grids Technical
• Strategically deploy microgrid technologies (Distributed Energy Resources - generation, storage, controls, distribution, building automation) • Establish standard approach for physical and cyber interconnections • Create capacity for maintenance of the system • Integrate resources and future requirements for sustainability – design to scale up

Distributed Energy Resources
Generator(s), Distribution, Monitoring, Metering, Demand Control

• Improved reliability • Maximize natural resources • Improved energy use and fuel costs • Improved operating efficiency • Prioritize loads • If standardized, these are commodities – competition lowers prices


• Slow adoption • Lack of control systems • No history of aggregation success • Lack of incentives • Few investors • Regulatory hurdles • Lack of education


Different than “the grid”
• Consumer engagement with resources to solve power issues locally • High penetration of local renewables in residential, commercial, and industrial • Not passive but active control in distribution • Two-way power flow in distribution • Distribution can become a transmission resource • Components are part of a cohesive system – high dependency on standardization (physical and data)

Villages Become Networked
Small City Microgrid


Regional Distribution Network




Biofuels Complex

Regional Solar Farm


Regional Wind Farm

Barriers & Remedies
• Monopolies may claim unfair competition • Financing DER is different than generation • Lack of agency education • Requires community participation • Very small microgrid systems not economically viable • Tendency to extend grid

• Accelerate electricity access to transmission for small projects (Tanzania) • Increase availability of credit from “banks” e.g. agriculture • Develop community ownership models for distribution systems (co-operatives) • Regulatory and Energy Ministerials develop microgrid authorization plans • Develop incentives for 500kW to 40MW sustainable community projects • Enable power flow between communities, monetize it

Next Steps
• Enforce physical and data standardization through permitting and/or regulation • Pilot sustainable communities that maximize natural resources • Network a number of adjacent communities • As economic output increases, reduce subsidies • Workforce training for locals to operate system • Subsidize replacement of diesel for natural resources for distributed resources

Thank you
• Terry Mohn

• See also, microgrid reports by
– International Energy Agency Renewable Energy Technology Deployment – Alliance for Rural Electrification – Global Village Energy Partnership International