IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 61

Social SCADA and Approaches to
Community Engagement in Isolated Microgrids

significant experience with programs involving water and
sewage systems. But it is not easy to establish interaction
between power systems and the community and, since even
low voltages of electricity can be harmful or fatal to humans,
appropriate precautions must be put in place.
The particular characteristics of rural-as distinct from
urban-communities include higher levels of sociability among their members, a trait that facilitates community
involvement in energy procurement and promotes long-term
sustainability. some intervention methodologies seek to
promote learning among stakeholders and their embrace of
sustainability. They utilize a process of coconstruction, adaptability (the ability of the community to cope with external
changes and to incorporate those changes internally), and
reflexivity (the ability of the developers to identify, incorporate, and redefine unexpected aspects of the project that arise
during the assessment process) that moves a system from a
particular regime (i.e., diesel-based power supply) to a more
sustainable use of resources. other documented cases have
made use of the community renewable energy concept, under
which communities finance and develop their own small-scale
renewable energy projects and assume responsibility for the
maintenance and operation of their own microgrids.
microgrids were defined by the international Council on
large electric systems (CiGrÉ) in 2010 as electrical distribution systems using distributed energy resources such
as distributed generators, storage devices, or loads that can

be controlled and coordinated, either while connected to
the main power network or operated in island mode. The
development of cost-effective microgrids that offer secure,
efficient, and sustainable electrification solutions at the local
level has therefore been proposed. This type of solution is
suitable for the application of renewable energy, especially
in places with an agricultural base or where hydro, wind,
and solar energies are available. in particular, an isolated
microgrid must, like a bulk power network, be able to integrate and coordinate several energy sources with appropriate
load-frequency strategies and the active participation of the
local community.
due to the electricity access needs indicated above, most
microgrid developments in latin america seek to provide
power supply in isolated rural locations. figure 2 shows
various microgrid projects identified in the region and their
stages of development.
in the case of Chile, a survey carried out in 2013 identified
79 isolated locations for the development of microgrid projects
as a solution for providing rural electricity access. This survey
filtered the entire universe of isolated communities by applying
the following criteria: 1) the number of homes to electrify; 2)
the community's human development index score; 3) migration patterns; and 4) the prior existence of an electrification
project. figure 3 shows the results by geographic area.
in the light of the main issue addressed here, that of community engagement, several challenges for the development

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july/august 2014

ieee power & energy magazine

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014

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