Electricity for All: Optimizing & Measuring Energy Usability is Key – The importance of measuring energy access to stimulate rural development*
It has been well proven that modern energy services are fundamental to international sustainable development. The time for universal access to contemporary energy supply has come. Remote and rural communities deserve to benefit from power generation technology advancements to stimulate rural development and improve lives.
Households and communities everywhere benefit greatly from reliable, safe and affordable modern energy access. Clean energy raises standards of living especially in underdeveloped areas in several ways, including, but not limited to:
- Increased after-dark productivity
- Growth in rural incomes
- Improved health care and educational services
- Progress toward gender and social equality
- Reduced indoor air pollution due to cleaner cooking and lighting technologies not requiring burning fossil fuels. Indoor air pollution is one of the world’s major health risks.
Multi-Tier Framework (MTF): An Energy Access Measurement Model
Various sustainable energy goals and timelines exist internationally for the implementation of access to modern, safe, reliable and affordable energy worldwide. Unfortunately, there are differing definitions of “access”, “modern”, “safe”, “reliable” and “affordable.” Many countries are aiming for 100% energy access by 2030, including in rural and remote locations.
The energy access data currently being collected globally is typically limited to simple criteria such as having or not having grid-connection to access electricity. This easy to collect data can be misleading, because it doesn’t take into consideration the numerous off-grid safe, reliable, and modern power producing options.
Policymakers worldwide need to look at an important global tracking framework created by the World Bank and several partners to fill in the energy access information gaps. The Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) was published in 2015 and outlines the important and value of measuring energy access to stimulate rural development. A comprehensive paper on this topic can be found on the Sustainable Energy for All website: World Bank, SE4ALL: Beyond Connections; Energy Access Redefined, 2015.
The MTF acknowledges that energy access encompasses a wide spectrum of household service levels. In fact, the framework helps determine the usability of energy from the household’s perspective.
The key attributes of residential electricity “usability” include:
• Amount of deliverable electricity capacity
• Number of hours of available electricity per day, especially at night
• Quality and reliability of service measured by outages and voltage fluctuations
• Power provided legally and safely
It is clear the world has a long way to go to reach the common sustainability goal of 100% energy access for all by 2030. It is hoped that more than just access is considered when installing new infrastructure, especially to remote areas. How well the energy supply is provided and whether it improves lives is most important to evaluate.
Off-Grid Renewable Energy: Affordable | Reliable | Abundant | Convenient | Quality | Safe
Thankfully, renewable energy technology has significantly advanced and also become more affordable over the past 20 years. There are now numerous off-grid renewable energy system types that deliver clean usable energy for residences in remote and rural locations, without access to utility infrastructure.
Whether a household is considering solar, wind or a combination on-site power generation system with or without battery storage, the property must be thoroughly evaluated. Only professional renewable energy experts are able to conduct a comprehensive energy audit, feasibility study and then make appropriate recommendations based on the specific requirements. Each project requires custom solutions to effectively balance the priorities of the customer (affordability, reliability, abundant electricity 24/7, convenience etc.) For example, if the system is undersized to save the client money, it may reduce the reliability and quantity of energy produced.)
Again, it is important customers seek out guidance from experienced professionals to design an efficient off-grid power generation solution for the site’s specific circumstances. Expert advice is needed to determine optimal system capacity, design the panel placement and electrical schematic and choose the most appropriate system component specifications. Only after this thorough assessment has been completed can a qualified technician provide a price quote.
Purchasing a renewable energy system without expert consultation is like speculating the cause of health symptoms, self-treating and purchasing medicine at a pharmacy before consulting a medical doctor for proper diagnosis. Both situations can be disastrous!
Vision Energy Solutions (VES) Brings the Experts to You
VES intends to provide turn-key renewable energy solutions to all domestic off-grid households throughout the Fiji Islands.
Our expert technicians are ready to provide the following services to recommend an ideal system for your household:
- Proper analysis of your household’s present energy usage, based on appliances and applications in use during various times of the day or night.
- Discuss potential future energy needs over the lifetime of the system.
- Select the ideal system components based on key specifications like technology features, wattage, voltage etc.
- Complete the professional engineering design process.
- Provide an easy to understand proposal/project quote.
- Continuously communicate with you to achieve meet or exceed your expectations throughout the sales, design, procurement, installation and commissioning processes.
VES’ unique value proposition is that we continually engage with the client to fully understand their unique situation, in order to design the optimum power system within their specified criteria.
All systems are installed by VES renewable energy expert technicians only. This guarantees your system is installed according to the standards stipulated by the Department of Energy and EFL using approved components and installation procedures. Our stringent and meticulous engineer, procure, construct and maintain process ensures your system will operate safely and reliably for years.
Let’s begin the discussion! Share your project details with us today.
*This blog is an adaptation of the publication, “Beyond Connections: Energy Access Redefined” by the international organization Sustainable Energy for All