Let There Be Light: Electrifying the Developing World with Markets and Distributed Energy

New Book Shines Light on How Distributed Energy Can Stabilize Developing Countries
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This model will become viable if there exists an appropriate billing system for such transactions. This structure has promoted inefficient business principles, which allow consumers to get subsidized rates for the electricity they consume. More concerning is the fact that this model is synonymous with corruption. Some countries keep pumping billions of dollars into their energy sector with little to show for it.

The same opportunities are available to the energy sector with experts agreeing that disruptive technologies might just be the solution to the electricity crisis. Hence, organizations and governments are introducing various projects which will allow them to capitalize on the innovative capacity of Blockchain and IoT to deliver efficient energy solutions. One such organization is Gigajoule Floating Solutions , which is looking to utilize Blockchain and IoT to optimize the generation and supply of electricity to countries that are badly in need of it.

To achieve this, the company will incorporate gas-based floating power plants as the primary energy source. Another one such start-up, Emjac , they aim to recover the trapped energy in waste tyres and reduce the carbon footprint in our environment and channel the renewable energy back into our ecosystem to benefit communities around the world via a trusted market platform. Alternatively, Zero Carbon Project wants to reduce carbon footprint by providing access to cheaper energy contracts where the carbon emissions are offset by international carbon credits.

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The innovative power of Blockchain, the Internet of Things IoT , and how they can transform the electricity industry are not new topics. However, there is no doubt that it is only when we start combining the disruptive forces of these technologies that we will begin to experience changes.

Blockchain, on its own, is a technology that establishes confidence and transparency, as data or information entered into the distributed ledger becomes tamper-proof. This feature could single-handedly eliminate the corruption factor since records of transactions, infrastructures, and investments are free from manipulations. Once corruption is out of the picture, stakeholders will certainly start getting the value for every penny invested in improving power production and distribution.

Likewise, the implementation of an IoT-enabled system through the deployment of smart electricity devices would boost the commercialization of private grids. This possibility becomes attainable with the introduction of smart metering and billing systems that would allow private homeowners to buy and sell electricity with ease.

https://marlandcenloughbol.tk Another advantage of the IoT technology is that it will give governments a vantage point, as to how much electricity is consumed, the regions that require more or less power supply, and ways to curtail wastage. Combining the features of these two technologies establishes a system that ensures trust, clarity, and efficiency. While IoT would generate all the data relating to the electricity generated and consumed, the blockchain will serve as the data bank where market services could permissibly access crucial data that can help them improve their offerings.

The proliferation of Innovative electricity and energy solutions integrating blockchain and IoT is a pointer that the energy sector is moving in the right direction in its quest for global electrification.

To sustain this momentum, governments, companies, and consumers must work hand-in-hand in implementing technologies that can deliver timely results. Disclaimer: I do not have any vested interest in any of the mentioned projects. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and is not investment advice. Do your research. Andrey Sergeenkov September Blockchain Gaming and Blockchain Trading: What is the connection? Andrey Sergeenkov September 8.

Andrey Sergeenkov August Andrey Sergeenkov March Andrey Sergeenkov July 4. Andrey Sergeenkov June Andrey Sergeenkov June 4. Andrey Sergeenkov May Andrey Sergeenkov May 6. Andrey Sergeenkov April Andrey Sergeenkov March 1. Andrey Sergeenkov February This is a nascent industry, which, at the moment, represents a small percentage of the electrification in the region, and is mostly in rural areas. Still, in the past eighteen months, these businesses have brought electricity to hundreds of thousands of consumers—many of them in places that the grid failed to reach, despite a hundred-year head start.

Funding, much of it from private investors based in Silicon Valley or Europe, is flowing into this sector—more than two hundred million dollars in venture capital last year, up from nineteen million in —and companies are rapidly expanding their operations with the new money. M-Kopa, an American startup that launched in Kenya, in , now has half a million pay-as-you-go solar customers; d.

Nicole Poindexter, the founder and C. She expects Black Star to be profitable within the next three years. Like many of the American entrepreneurs I met in Africa, Poindexter has a background in finance. A graduate of Harvard Business School, she worked as a derivatives trader before leading business development at Opower, a software platform for utilities customers that was acquired by Oracle last year.

Unlike many of these entrepreneurs, who tend to skew white and male, Poindexter is African-American. She decided to start the company in , after she began to learn about energy poverty. She recalled watching TV coverage of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

Integrated Energy Network: A Discussion on Electrification

It was from the smoke in the room from the fire. Today, the local clinic no longer has to deliver babies by flashlight. The town chief, Nana Kwaku Appiah, said that he was so excited that he initially left his lights on inside all night.

2. Centralization and Corruption

This would give us one more way of measuring our impact. If you've changed your mind about a book that you've ordered, please use the Ask bookseller a question link to contact us and we'll respond within 2 business days. Let There Be Light shows the failures of centralized electricity to meet these challenges - and describes how distributed, renewable energy such as solar and wind power can work. Lambrides, J. In a pilot in rural Nicaragua, once the assessment was complete 8 movement from evaluation to implementation quickly became a goal of both the community and a local commercial plant. His military awards include two bronze stars for meritorious service and a purple heart. But, if smart microgrids take hold at the pace their proponents hope, the change to rural economies and lifestyles in Kenya and elsewhere in the developing world could be massive and permanent.

When I visited the Tanzanian headquarters of Off-Grid Electric, in the city of Arusha, the atmosphere was reminiscent of Palo Alto or Mountain View, with standing desks and glassed-in conference rooms for impromptu meetings. Helgesen, who is thirty-eight years old and lanky, with hair that he regularly brushes out of his eyes, grew up in Silver Bay, Minnesota, a small town on the shore of Lake Superior.

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At fourteen, he came up with the idea of leasing the municipal mini-golf course for a summer, and tripled revenues by offering season passes and putting on special promotions for visiting hockey teams. He paid a local man to take him to the nearest village. This is young people, this is entrepreneurialism, this is where growth will be. He found two like-minded business partners, and, in , they set up shop in Arusha.

It was costing thirty dollars a month in kerosene. And I was, like, Wow, for thirty dollars a month I could do a lot better. But, no, they picked the bluest, hardest light you can imagine. There were solar panels in sub-Saharan Africa before companies like Off-Grid arrived, but customers generally had to pay for them up front, a forbidding prospect for many.

And which is why kerosene was winning. There was no risk. You could buy it a tiny bit at a time. Off-Grid, like several of its competitors, finances the panels, so that people can pay the same small monthly amounts they were paying for kerosene. Then they pay about eight dollars a month for three years, after which they own the products outright. The most popular system adds a few more lights and a flat-screen TV, for a higher down payment and about twice the monthly price. That scenario, it turns out, is uncommon: less than two per cent of the loans in Tanzania have gone bad.

In America, utilities are burdened with infrastructure, such as the endless poles and wires that come down in storms. Still, the company is working with technology that is brand-new and needs to be made cheaply in order to be affordable.

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When solar energy first came to Africa, it was expensive and unreliable. Arne Jacobson, a professor of environmental-resources engineering at Humboldt State University, in California, is a couple of decades older than most of the entrepreneurs I met in Africa. He got his doctorate studying the first generation of home solar in Kenya, in the late nineteen-nineties. Chinese panels, panels from the U. Later, L. Jacobson credits this innovation with making investors more willing to put their money into companies such as Off-Grid, which has now raised more than fifty-five million dollars.

His main testing lab is in Shenzhen, China, near most of the solar-panel manufacturers. After an Off-Grid installer shows up on his motorbike, he opens the product carton with great solemnity; in an Ivorian village, I watched along with seventeen neighbors, who nodded as the young man held up each component, one by one. He then climbed onto the roof of the house, nailed on a solar panel about the size of a placemat, and used a crowbar to lift up the corrugated-tin roof to run the wire inside. He screwed the battery box to the cement-block wall and walked the customer through the process of switching lights on and off several times, something the man had never done before.

The company also offers a service guarantee: as long as customers are making their payments, they can call a number on the box and a repairman will arrive within three days. These LightRiders, as the company calls them, are trained to trouble-shoot small problems. This sales-and-installation system presents some engineering challenges. When the company expanded into Ivory Coast, last year, it had to redesign its packaging to fit on the smaller motorcycles used there.

Summer reading: Everyone’s doing it

The LightRider turns on his phone every morning, and he has a list of his tasks for the day, so he knows what parts to take with him. Solar companies also contend with the complexity of the mobile-payment systems. Off-Grid delivers these codes over the phone, but the company still needs a call center, manned by fifteen people, to help customers with the mechanics of paying. There are ten screens, and the process ends with the input of a sixteen-digit code.

Because one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of solar power in the region is the lack of available cash, many of these companies are essentially banks as well as utilities, providing loans to customers who may have no credit history. That can make it hard to figure out what to charge people. Bladin first started studying distributed solar—solar electricity produced near where it is used—in Bangladesh, where the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus used his Grameen microcredit network to finance and distribute panels and batteries.

Drew Sloan

Lacking that established financial architecture, companies in sub-Saharan Africa are constantly experimenting with different plans: Off-Grid began by offering ten-year leases, but found that customers wanted to own their systems more quickly, and so the payments are now spread out over three years. PEGAfrica customers buy their system in twelve months, but the company gives them hospitalization insurance as a bonus. Black Star is a true utility: the customers in the communities where it builds microgrids will always pay bills, but the charges start at only two dollars a month.

The business model depends on customers steadily increasing the amount of energy they buy, as they move from powering televisions to powering small businesses. Companies like Burro—a Ghanaian outfit launched by Whit Alexander, the Seattle entrepreneur who founded Cranium games—sell lamps and chargers and panels outright, saving customers credit fees but limiting the number of people who can afford the products. This uncertainty about the most practical financial model reflects the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa there is a great deal of economic diversity, both between countries and within them.

Manual Let There Be Light: Electrifying the Developing World with Markets and Distributed Energy

One morning, I found myself walking down a line of houses in the Arushan suburb of Morombo. At the first house, a two-room cinder-block structure with a broken piece of mirror on one wall, a woman talked with me as we sat on the floor. The home represented a big step up for her, she said—she and her husband had rented a place for years, until they were able to buy this plot of land and build this house.

She had a solar lantern the size of a hockey puck in her courtyard, soaking up rays. Aid groups have distributed more than a million of these little lamps across the continent. Next door, a twenty-six-year-old student named Nehemiah Klimba shared a more solidly built house with his mother. It had a corrugated-iron roof on a truss that let hot air escape, and we sat on a sofa. Klimba said that, as soon as he finished paying off the windows, he was going to electrify.

It belonged to a soldier who worked as a U. There was an Off-Grid solar system on the roof, but it was providing only backup power. The owner had paid a hefty fee to connect to the local electric grid, so he faced none of the limitations of a battery replenished by the sun.

In his living room, he had a huge TV and speakers; a stainless-steel Samsung refrigerator gleamed in the kitchen. A couple of dogs tussled nearby; a motorbike rolled past with six people on board. Her husband listened to the sales pitch from Lewis, who was showing him pictures on his cell phone of other customers in the village. In his twenties, he spent seven summers in the U. Rick Perry is another company alum; so is Kenneth Starr. Do you have a place where I can come in and sit down? So you have to show them.