Satellite services makes energy for all possible

Across the world, 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity. In India alone, 300 million people are in the dark. Microgrids offer electricity to remote communities or connect renewable energy to the grid. But keeping grids operational is challenging. So is monitoring and timely maintenance. Space4Microgrids India and TNO have proven the technical and economic viability of satellites to ensure reliable microgrid service. The next step is to test the concepts in practice.

Would you like to join forces? Please contact Bas Henzing

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Keeping grids operational with satellite technology

The Space4MicrogridsIndia (S4MI) consortium aims to assess and develop new operational and space application-based services for a wide range of users in the microgrid deployment chain. For S4MI, satellite-based services are essential to market success. So TNO’s expertise in satellite technology, data and energy were an ideal fit. TNO contributed its experience in atmospheric and energy modelling to form a crucial component of the consortium’s work.

In the first phase of the project, S4MI identified the development challenges rural microgrids face, such as smooth implementation, proper monitoring, timely maintenance and failure prevention. A feasibility study focused on addressing these challenges with satellite technology. S4MI consulted with many microgrid stakeholders – like potential end-users, utility companies, (local) governments and system integrators – to ensure that the solutions fit the challenges.

Testing two concepts in practice

Bas Henzing, project leader: “After successful completion of the feasibility study, S4MI is ready to put the concepts to work. We will test two concepts, both with the potential to make microgrids more reliable and beneficial to all”.

  • Mapping service
    To aid decision-makers (utility companies, microgrid developers or financing) in the planning, design and construction phase by remotely determining the suitability of a rural site for a microgrid, and by using (more detailed) satellite data to design and build the microgrid.
  • Monitoring service
    To aid asset operators and managers in the operations and maintenance phase by providing (near real-time) information on microgrid operations through satellite communication (SATCOM), signalling (sudden or gradual) changes in microgrid performance, and analysing the causes by comparing changes in land use. The monitoring service also provides fault localisation and climatological expectation data.

Stakeholder support to make microgrids more reliable and beneficial for all

S4MI will demonstrate the services in the microgrids of three key stakeholders whose input will help shape the strategic direction of the project. S4MI aimed to work with a variety of providers with similar yet distinctive energy offerings.

Global Himalayan Expeditions brings reliable energy to communities in very remote mountainous areas. GHE is also working in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and recognizes that satellite communication capabilities in the monitoring service can also strongly support Quality Education and Good Health and Well-Being.

Mlinda designs and installs minigrids over large areas, serving multiple villages. Environmental data is crucial for designing minigrids in these varied and monsoon-prone regions. The monitoring service will provide faster, more manageable insight into energy usage and loss, and weather conditions that can lead to shutdowns. Mlinda also supports entrepreneurship and agricultural activities, and so is interested in monitoring energy usage in this domain.
Tech Mahindra/Hygge a large, commercial energy provider will also be involved in the demonstrations.  Improving energy production and distribution for a company of this size can provide sustainable, reliable energy to 200 million customers.

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