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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Method for Determining the Cost of Highly Available Electricity Considering Grid Unavailability: A case study and applied analysis in Uganda
by Murphy, Patrick Mark, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2015, 109; 10006255
Abstract (Summary)

People in developing countries have limited access to electricity, especially in rural and remote areas. As electricity consumption is correlated with economic development, the lack of access to electricity is a key obstacle to achieving economic growth. Techniques for improving access to electricity include grid extension and distributed energy resources (DER), but analyzing the tradeoff between grid extension and distributed generation requires a better understanding of the impacts of grid unreliability. In this dissertation, a new method for simulating unreliable electric grids is presented. The method is then used to determine the cost of reliable electricity in areas where the grid is unreliable. The method is extended in order to calculate the distance at which grid extension of an unreliable grid and DER have the same cost, a point known as the economic distance limit (EDL). Finally, the method is applied to analyze the impact of grid sell-back prices on electricity cost and EDL. The methods are demonstrated for a village in Uganda, but hold universally. Results indicate that demand for increased availability increases cost, but now the cost per unit of availability can be calculated and used in decision making. Similarly, with fixed demand availability, we see increasing costs as grid availability decreases. This also results in EDL decreasing as grid availability decreases, as there is little value in extending a grid that functions poorly. From the simulation results, linear approximations of some of the key outputs are developed and are demonstrated to be consistent with results. These provide a method for rapidly calculating electricity costs and EDL without the need to perform numerous simulations. Simple calculations for cost of highly available electricity will enable more informed choices for grid-tied and stand-alone electricity generation for system operators and for policy makers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: van Dorp, Johan R.
Commitee: Castillo, Ariel S., Deason, Jonathan P., Mazzuchi, Thomas A., Shittu, Ekundayo
School: The George Washington University
Department: Engineering Mgt and Systems Engineering
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Energy, Engineering, Operations research
Keywords: Distributed electricity resources, Global development, Grid extension, Renewable energy
Publication Number: 10006255
ISBN: 978-1-339-44014-9
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