Energy Village Concept: Long-term programme for achieving renewable erergy self-sufficiency at the local level

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Work Package (WP)

The Energy Village (EV) project will be developed as LEAP-RE WP 14.

Location

Activities of this project will take place in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Botswana, Finland.

Partners

Lead: University of Vaasa

Overall Objectives
  1. Decarbonisation of rural regions in sixteen villages: targeting long-term carbon neutrality, with a strong replication potential (measures: C-balance, CO2 emissions).
  2. Large scale utilisation of Local Renewable Energy Sources (LRES) in rural regions: significant improvement of the degree of LRES based energy sufficiency (MWh/a: % increase) and creation of practical models for replication.
  3. Creation of regional systems covering all energy vectors (electricity, heating and transport) as well as the associated flexibility that can be gained through storage and active management of supply and demand and involving all stakeholders, including local citizens and consumers .
  4. Optimisation of existing energy infrastructure: coupling pilot sites with prevailing systems.
  5. Elaboration of innovative approaches and replicable business models, which involve local citizens and are based on local value creation, especially the investment and ownership possibilities for local actors and citizens as well as local and citizen data ownership and mining .
  6. Improvement of rural regional economies and employment.
Context: Why is this action necessary?

The Energy Village Concept created business opportunities, targets and places for investments. It aims to bring small, primarily rural regions to a state of 100+% renewable energy self-sufficiency using local RES. Whenever employed, it creates positive operational environments, where technology providers can establish their devices, and where investments can be placed. One ambition to implement EV is the success seen in Finland in use of EV concept, which helps to decline human-caused climate change effect mainly for energy production carbon emissions.

Villages/suburbs/regions in Africa have diverse sources of renewable energies, yet they neither utilise nor generate income from renewable energy. The EV defines an energy village as a small town or region, with a population of between 100 and 12000 inhabitants, with a good mixture of houses, schools, shopping centers, health facilities and farms, but also a surrounding “impact area” (forests, open countryside, cultivation grounds etc.) with associated RES potential. The Energy Village (EV) concept maps out consumption as well as different sources of energy found within a village. To demonstrates that the village can generate sufficient energy at a commercial scale for use and sell the excess energy. The EV concept, therefore, provides new types of energy infrastructure, energy access and energy market structures that keep the money flow within the region boosting its economy, employment and the overall quality of life while enhancing the principles of bio- and circular economy. The concept open business opportunities for local and international companies. The EV concept, therefore, involves the local communities and inhabitants in all stages up to energy generation, thus gives them responsibility and ownership.

What are the concrete actions to be implemented?

The Energy Village project will facilitate the EV-concept by offering an approach, motivation, common methodology and tools for developing a long-term program for achieving 100+% RES energy self- sufficiency for the village(s). The EV concept will be executed as follows:

Firstly, the project creates and tests a set of tools and methods to develop regional energy self-sufficiency programs by using each region ́s renewable energy source (RES) potential and total energy consumption.

Secondly, the project develops new management systems and protection architectures for local energy islands utilizing smart solutions to optimize the management of energy storage. Local energy islands can work as a smart controllable entity providing ancillary services and flexibility for the whole power system needs.

Thirdly, EV creates, tests and uses new types of market and business models (prosumers) that enable profitable utilization of local RES, energy storage and demand response.

Fourthly, establish an African-wide network of smart energy islands via LEAP-RE consortium. Capacity Building: The Capacity Building phase has a strong foundation in the ‘demands’ part of the first phase and can be seen as continuous work that corresponds to the demands that arise from the area. Knowledge transfer and researchers’ exchange to ensure a standard for increasing compatibility and usability of the system locally.