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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modular and discrete: Opportunities for alternative power system planning, expansion and operation in developing countries


When developing electricity systems, generation and grid have been separately planned and demand has generally been assumed passive, estimated using aggregated approaches. However a variety of design, technology and regulatory solutions are available in modern power systems for a more tailored approach to power system development, which may hold great promise for low income countries to leapfrog towards sustainable and decentralised energy delivery. Monitoring of power systems from generation to load, PMUs, on-site storage, DLR, OLTC, direct load control or innovative network topologies including micro- and mini-gridscan reduce total costs, increase asset utilisation and modify the optimal phase-in of investments along a planning horizon. These allow for new planning approaches and more holistic phase-in of generation and networks. This paper reviews the scientific literature and best practice databases, providing a state-of-the-art perspective on the technical options,costs, benefits and barriers to deployment of a progressive build-up of power infrastructure.

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