IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 62

of microgrids were identified; they relate to technical as well
as social matters. These challenges are shown in figure 4
and summarized below. as shown in the figure, isolated
microgrids offer opportunities for further development in
both social and technical areas. hereby, two community
engagement tools are presented: a methodological framework for community engagement in isolated microgrid
projects and the social sCada system. The results of their
application in the huatacondo microgrid are also shown
and discussed.

Community Engagement Approaches
for Isolated Microgrids

The proposed methodology is summarized in figure 5 and
described step by step below.
Stage 0: Building a Suitable Team

setting up a microgrid in a community is a task that requires a
competent interdisciplinary team. a project in a community setting certainly needs a technical solution, but it must also adapt
itself to local realities, coexist with local practices, and enhance
local capabilities. previous experiences in developing countries
have shown the importance of educating and training community members, making it necessary to involve people from many
different professional fields (engineers, social workers, sociologists, geographers, and so on) in the effort. Cooperative international networks are also envisioned for this purpose.

A Microgrid Development Methodology
Given that in latin america, as elsewhere, isolated
microgrid projects tend not to be attractive to private companies because of the lack of adequate policies and regulatory frameworks, one proposal is that local actors should
be responsible for ensuring the project's sustainability. in
this approach, support from various actors from the institutional and private sectors acting in concert is also pursued.
a central element of this methodology is to consider both
the technological and socioenvironmental aspects of the
development process and to include the community itself
as an active participant in planning and decision making.

Stage 1: Technical and Social Feasibility

The objective of this stage is to evaluate the technological,
social, and environmental aspects of the project's components. in technical terms, the use of a microgrid as a tool for
renewable energy development implies a campaign to measure factors such as wind speed, solar radiation, and water
flow and a survey of the use of fossil fuels and biomass in
the community's economic activities (e.g., for transportation). it is also necessary to estimate electricity consumption using historical data, direct measurement, or population
surveys. With this information and considering the available

7.0

100.0
90.0

6.0

80.0

%

60.0

4.0

50.0
3.0

40.0
30.0

2.0

20.0

1.0

Electrification Rate (%)

Other Latin America

Uruguay

Venezuela

Trinidad and Tobago

Peru

Paraguay

Panama

Nicaragua

Netherlands Antilles

Mexico

Jamaica

Haiti

Honduras

Guatemala

El Salvador

Ecuador

Dominican Republic

Cuba

Costa Rica

Colombia

Chile

Brazil

Bolivia

Argentina

10.0
0.0

Millions

5.0

70.0

0.0

Population Without Electricity (Millions)

figure 1. Electrification rates and population without electricity in Latin America (source: IEA).
62

ieee power & energy magazine

july/august 2014



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