IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 45

water daily. The resulting digester biogas is then delivered to
GE Energy's durable Jenbacher engines to generate electricity
for the 19,000-m2 complex as well as the local grid. The residual materials in the digester can later be used as fertilizer.
Such biogas generation has been steadily growing in rural
China in recent decades. Some, like the Minhe group, also
trade certified emission reductions under the CDM project.
China has a huge potential for biogas power generation, as
the raw materials for biogas are abundant and widespread
from crops and livestock. By the estimate from the Medium
and Long-Term Development Plan for Renewable Energy in
China, the total installed capacity of biogas generation could
reach 30 GW and biogas production 40 billion m3. Because of
its benefit for providing fuel and electricity and recycling biological waste, it has been recognized as an important component of renewable energy development.

Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
and a local solar energy company. An initial investment
of CNY15 million was put forward to procure PV panels
and wind turbines. The system could reach an annual
profit of CNY2 million after the government no longer
provides subsidies. Although the microgrid is still at its
infancy, first-hand experience could be collected among
these demonstration projects.
At the current stage, in China, microgrid technology is
not yet economical enough for large-scale exploitation; on
the side of electricity companies, there exists some hesitation about the mass application of grid-connected
microgrids for fear of lowered revenue and increased operation complication. The commercial application of
microgrids, including off-grid microgrids for rural areas, is
an untapped market source that has shown great potential.

Rural Microgrid

Major Renewable Policy

The microgrid is first put forward as a flexible means to
integrate renewable energy. In its ability to connect and
disconnect from the main grid, it has other potential such
as local optimization of the energy supply and resistance
to grid contingency. Different purposes are set by varying
end users. Navigant Research has divided the microgrid
market into five categories based on the end user:
1) remote systems
2) commercial/ industrial
3) community/utility
4) institutional/campus
5) military.
The microgrid can be connected with the main grid
through one point of connection or isolated from the
main grid. The latter system is particularly suited for the
remote rural communities that are far from a main grid.
The rural remote microgrid tends to be quite small, often
fewer than 100 kW in size, while the utility and industrial
microgrid can be as large as 60-100 MW per system.
Around the world, the remote microgrid sector shows
great potential as a record-setting increase of 155 new
projects, representing 60 MW of the additional capacity in
remote microgrids, as recorded by the Navigant Microgrid
Deployment Tracker in March 2014.
The ability of microgrids to involve consumers and
renewable generation at the distribution level, a quite distinctive feature from the traditional power grid, has drawn
the attention of many researchers. Microgrid demonstration projects are ample in China, and another 30
microgrids are planned to be built by 2015 by the Chinese
NEA. China is estimated to be a leading market, especially
for off-grid remote microgrids, by 2020.
Some of the projects explored the microgrid's use for
rural electrification. The first megawatt-level oceanic
island microgrid in China was constructed in 2010 in
Dong Ao Island in the South China Sea, under a research
and demonstration project for multiple renewableenergy microgrids led by the Guangzhou Energy

The recent Renewable Energy Scale-up Program (CRESP) is
the world's largest international cooperation program in the
field of renewable energy. It is cooperated by China, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the World Bank. For province-level demonstrative projects, the program supported
the implementation of 21 renewable energy demonstrative
projects in four demonstrative provinces, including Jiangsu,
Zhejiang, Fujian, and Inner Mongolia (Table 3). This has laid a
solid foundation for the overall promotion of renewable
energy technology in China. For example, the following projects have successively become China's renewable energy
scale-up demonstrative projects, including the 30-MW intertidal zone pilot wind farm in Rudong, Jiangsu; the 5-MW biomass gasification thermal, power, and steam project in Gaoyou, Jiangsu Province; the 205-kW low-fold concentrating PV
power plant in Pingtan, Fujian Province; and the 20-MW tidal
power station in Jiantiao, Zhejiang Province (http://www.
cresp.org.cn/english/video.asp).

challenges and Objectives
Efficiency
Little attention was paid to operational efficiency when
the public electricity supplies were first developed in rural
areas. During the early days of rural electrification (first
phase), because of the limited resources and attention
from the central government, rural areas were encouraged
to use local resources and to be operated by local authorities. Without order and monitoring from higher authorities, system design flaw, line losses, unreliable supply, and
waste of resources were rampant. In regions rich in water
resources, site development planning often failed to maximize the energy potential of a given location.

Market Mode for Decentralized Systems
The future trend for rural electrification in remote areas is a
high reliance on decentralized systems. Technical immaturity
or imperfection aside, efficient and commercial construction
IEEE Electrific ation Magazine / March 2 0 1 5

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http://www http://cresp.org.cn/english/video.asp

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