Design of Village Power and Micro-Grids for Rural Areas of Zimbabwe with Specific Attention to Voltage Regulation on Low Voltage Meshed Distribution Grids

Tinarwo, David

kassel university press, ISBN: 978-3-89958-636-7, 2009, 146 Pages

URN: urn:nbn:de:0002-6371

Zugl.: Kassel, Univ., Diss. 2008

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Content: This work constitutes a feasibility study of the use of renewable energy resources in rural farming villages in Zimbabwe. A case study was done for a farming village consisting of a dairy farm called Rosenwald with 627 dairy cows and surrounded by local villagers offering manpower labour for the dairy activities. The village setup presents great opportunities for a sustainable power supply system in the form of village power system using the powerful microgrid concept since the farm is already connected to the national grid but with great problems of reliability, which is already a national problem if not regional due to the worst economics crisis facing the country coupled with the present regional power shortage experiencing the whole Southern Africa region. With the intended on-farm energy generation, the energy services are to be extended to the surrounding villages. Thus the study aims to stimulate better focus to the use of locally available renewable energy resources at bigger scales starting from the disadvantaged communities in the rural areas. The focus is put to these rural farming communities because these could be a strong force in the speedy electrification of the poor communities surrounding them. This could be more viable given the already existing business activities in these farms. So in this thesis the study of the on-farm energy generation using the farm and animal waste has shown that such communities can be totally independent from the electric grid by using the locally available resources. Here the technologies assessed are the biogas and solar and all the evaluation of the designs, choice of components and their suitable sizes was done with the help of a micropower optimization model HOMER simulation programme from National Renewable Energy Laboratory available at their website www.nrel.gov/homer. From the assessment done for the case study farm, it was shown that an electricity price of EUR 0.26/kWh is possible from the on – farm energy generation scheme. The results of the simulations showed that the biogas without solar could be most cost effective. In the studied case a great potential of self reliance in terms of energy for the community has been demonstrated. The thesis also looks at some technical aspect of such systems especially when interconnected in different topologies, for example when parallel connected via medium voltage system and also when these are connected in mesh topology in the low voltage. Aspects such as active power sharing, reactive power exchange among these microgrids voltage regulation were studied. Particular attention was given to the study of voltage regulation in low voltage meshed networks using the method of reactive power injection. The method was demonstrated both experimentally and by simulation in ATP - EMTP (Alternative Transient Programme – Electromagnetic Transient Programme). Also the dynamic operation of a biogas fired microturbine was studied to have a clear knowledge of the operation of this since it is the main generating/conversion component of the proposed system.

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