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System approach to evaluate economic feasibility of renewable generation for rural communities

Eilbigi Dehkordi, B. (2020). System approach to evaluate economic feasibility of renewable generation for rural communities. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Over recent years, severe weather from storms and flooding have damaged electricity networks and caused power cuts substantially for rural communities. With Government targets for increasing the contribution of renewable electricity to energy supplies, it is possible that this contribution could be combined with improvements to the security of energy of rural communities. This research investigates the hypothesis that communities with adjacent land could generate communal electric power economically to substitute grid power for substantial period of time. Excess generated power is made available to the grid thus boosting the availability of renewable energy while at the same generating revenue for the community and increasing security of supply to these communities. The question for this research is whether community energy schemes can be economically viable and if so what configuration of wind turbines and solar panels would support an optimal solution. An optimal solution is dependent on energy consumption, the dynamics of weather, land availability, lifetime support for generation facilities and changing government policies. The complex nature of the community energy question, with nonlinear and dynamical constraints requires a systems approach to the problem definition and modelling in order to understand the economic feasibility of renewable electricity generation for rural communities in the UK. A comprehensive renewable electricity generation model is developed that combines onshore wind turbine and solar PV panel to generate electricity for community.
The energy generation model combines linear, non-linear and dynamical behavioural variables to develop a novel approach to modelling. Discrete event simulation is applied to analyse the performance of the community energy system together with configuring the optimal combination of technologies. System dynamics modelling is used to assess the impact of feasibility of the renewable generation economics on future investment in the technology.
Overall, this thesis successfully demonstrates the development of the system modelling method for grid connected renewable electricity generation at community level. The results demonstrate viability of these type of renewable electricity generation investments and how economy scale can be improved, aiming to attract more investment in local renewable generation farms. This research applied the new model to a case study, Huntly in Scotland with real data and found that, one 1.5MW turbine generating 2,700,000kWh/year of electricity yielded 72% rate of return on investment (ROR) that makes the scheme feasible.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > Engineering > Electrical & Electronic Engineering
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