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Multicriteria-based methodology for the design of rural electrification systems. A case study in Nigeria (Juanpera et al. 2020)

Marc Juanpera, Philipp Blechinger, Laia Ferrer-Martí, Martha Hoffmann, Rafael Pastor

Abstract — Electrification with micro-grids is receiving increasing attention to electrify rural areas in developing countries. However, determining the best local supply solution is a complex problem that requires considering different generation technologies (i.e. solar PV, wind or diesel) and different system configurations (off-grid or on-grid). Most existing decision aid tools to assess this design only consider economical and technical issues in a single optimization process. However, social and environmental considerations have been proven key issues to ensure long-term sustainability of the projects. In this context, the objective of this work is to develop a multicriteria procedure to allow comparing electrification designs with on-grid or isolated micro-grids and different technologies considering multiple aspects. This multicriteria procedure is integrated in a two-phased methodology to assist the design of the system to electrification promoters in a structured process. First, different electrification alternatives are generated with an open-source techno-economic optimization model; next, these alternatives are evaluated and ranked with the multicriteria procedure, which considers 12 criteria representing economic, technical, socio-institutional and environmental aspects. The whole design methodology is validated with a real case study of 26 population settlements in Plateau State, Nigeria. Experts in rural electrification within the Nigerian context have been consulted to weight the criteria and particularize their evaluation for the specific case study. Results show that solar PV technology based systems are the most suitable electrification designs for communities in Nigeria, while grid connection feasibility depends on the size of the community and the distance to the closest national grid consumption point.

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Paper published in: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 133, November 2020, 110243.