Within the research field Off-Grid Systems we develop renewable energy based electrification strategies for developing regions and optimize hybrid mini-grids applying energy system simulations and geoinformation software (GIS). Worldwide more than 1.3 billion people live without proper access to reliable and affordable electricity. Decentralised energy systems represent one solution to electrify these people. Such systems can use local renewable resources for power generation.

We want to reveal the economic and ecological potential of renewable energies in developing regions with the help of our research. Many renewable technologies are already cost-competitive compared to fossil power plants and additionally reduce local and global emissions. Our research approach follows basically four steps which are gradually integrated. It starts with the application of geoinformation systems to determine certain input parameters for the following simulations and analyses. Hereby, we can for example detect the location of electricity grids, isolated diesel power plants or the availability of renewable resources. These data enable us to conduct energy system modelling and simulation of hybrid mini-grids and island systems. We simulate power flows of different power generation technologies and battery systems to meet a certain load demand.

This can be done in minutely or hourly time steps. The simulation models can be applied to test and to evaluate operation strategies and stability parameters as well. In addition, we develop models to generate and display grid extension plans. Based on the technical simulations we can conduct economic optimizations. Via these optimizations we can assess the techno-economic optimized share of renewable energies in hybrid mini-grids.

In addition, we can compare the power generation costs of different electrification options (stand-alone systems, isolated mini-grids, grid extension) for different regions. The previously three steps allow deriving recommendations for business development and political decisions makers. We conduct market studies regarding the potential of different renewable technologies for off-grid applications. Additionally we offer pre-feasibility studies for interested companies and project developers. For policy support we can develop electrification strategies and pathways showing an economical and environmental friendly power supply. Our interdisciplinary team of business engineers, IT experts, geographers, and specialists in global change management support the global “Energiewende” by public and private financed research projects.

More information

Type of organisation

  • Academia/Research Institute
  • Consultancy
  • Nonprofit Organisation

Rural electrification expertise

  • Capacity Building
  • Consultancy
  • Research/Academia

Off-grid system used

  • Micro/Mini-grid
  • Stand-alone

RE-technology used

  • Battery / Energy Storage
  • Hybrid
  • Hydro
  • Solar PV
  • Wind

Based in

Germany

Contact

Philipp Blechinger
Team Leader Off-Grid systems
philipp.blechinger@rl-institut.de