Rural Electrification in East Malaysia : Achieving optimal power generation system and sustainability of rural electrification projects
Abstract: The objectives of this project are to propose improvements to one of the civil society organisations, Lightup Borneo, helping it to attain an optimal power generation system capable of supplying reliable and continuous electricity, as well as to achieve sustainability of rural electrification projects. The project spans six months; methodology includes desk research, field research, case study and simulation using HOMER. The review of government programmes provided references for accomplishing the project objectives. Kampung Mantapok was chosen as the subject of case study. Current system installed at this village only consists of 10 kW micro-hydropower system. Total electricity demand of the village is 53.72 kWh/d, with two daily peak load occurring at 11 am and 5 pm. Eight system configurations were derived based on two-level full factorial design and evaluated with HOMER. A system configuration consisting of 10 kW micro-hydro generator, 3 kW inverter and two units of 280 Ah battery was selected. Its COE and NPC are the lowest – RM 0.181 (US$ 0.045) and RM 46,230 (US$ 11,558) respectively. It has 0 % of annual capacity shortage and unmet load. When system cost increases, when river discharge reduces. COE reduces when electricity load, capacity shortage and battery lifetime increase. Villagers’ level of satisfaction and confidence, assuming to be inversely proportional to capacity shortage and unmet load, are equally important as the system cost. Current system has 5 % of capacity shortage and lower resiliency, indicating incapability of handling load growth and variations of river discharge. Improvements for current system are justified given the above facts. The upfront cost for improvements is 19 % of the capital cost of current system. The improved system also outweighs diesel-fuelled system by saving 11 tons of carbon dioxide emission and having 73 % lower COE and NPC. In order to achieve sustainability of rural electrification projects, four recommendations were proposed, namely integration of development programmes, establishment of community organizations, enhancing knowledge sharing and communication. Project findings are useful for Lightup Borneo’s upcoming projects, life-cycle analysis of power generation system and study of community-based electricity generation, as well as energy policy reform in Malaysia.
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