Purpose: This paper aims to propose a comprehensive methodology for setting up rural electrifications for indigenous villages with minimum budgets and the lowest possible cost of electricity (COE). The electricity accessibility of rural area in Malaysia is not fully covered and the cost of extending the grid to these areas can be high as RM 2.7m per km. Lack of vigorous policies and economic attraction of the rural areas are also the main barriers to rural electrification. Electricity is an essential element of economic activities and the lack of electricity exacerbates poverty and contributes to its perpetuation. Therefore, a hybrid standalone power system can be an alternative solution for the rural electrification. A hybrid standalone power system is studied to investigate the potential of the implementation and the budget required. Design/methodology/approach: A site survey has been carried out in a village in Peninsular Malaysia, namely, Kampung Ulu Lawin Selatan. A standalone hybrid system is modeled in HOMER Pro software and the data collected from the selected site are used to obtain the system configuration with the lowest COE. The load following and cycle charging energy dispatch methods are compared to identify the optimal system configuration that yields the lowest COE. The diesel generator-only system is chosen as a benchmark for comparisons. Findings: The results show that the hybrid system constituted from the diesel generator, photovoltaic (PV), micro-hydro and energy storage using the load following energy dispatch method yields the lowest COE of RM 0.519 per kWh. The COE of the hybrid system is 378 per cent lower than that of the diesel generator-only system. The lead-acid energy storage system (ESS) is able to reduce 40 per cent of COE as compared to the system without ESS. Originality/value: The results indicate that the COE of the diesel-micro hydro-PV-ESS system with load following dispatch strategy is RM 0.519 per kWh, and this value is 35 per cent higher than the average electricity price in Malaysia. However, it is important to note that the costs of extending the grid to the rural area are not taken into account. If this cost is considered into the electricity price, then the standalone hybrid power system proposed by this study is still a competitive alternative for rural electrification.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management