Electrification in third world countries is a step that can highly affect other development factors of a country and improve the living standard of its people. However, normal pathways of electrification reach the urban centers and tend to forget the rural poor. Although this approach reaches a high percentage of the population its demographics raise social justice questions. Further, the infrastructure required can have dramatic environmental impacts and the fuel mixture used to power it will bring it’s own environmental concerns. Different approaches can be explored that would minimize environmental impacts while maximizing the percentage of the population served during the electrification process and serving a more balanced demography. Finding these approaches raises the need to successfully model the possible development of the grid and to create what if scenarios of policy and strategies to compare the environmental impacts and the demographics associated with the development. Having a tool that can perform this would allow early recognition of desired policy, fuel mixes and grid configurations. Further, least developed countries whose infrastructure is small can strategically plan for a better development with such a tool. This paper lays out an agent-based model (ABM) used to simulate the development of an electrical grid in a third world country. The paper then studies simulations of the electrification of a small country using different parameters. The results of the simulations provide an ABM approach to evaluating demography, environmental impacts and policy opportunities of the grid. This approach, coupled with interested governments, can be used to efficiently evaluate different pathways to electrification and their repercussion. It would also allow leaders to investigate their decision implications on a complex system in terms of environmental impacts, social justice and effective economic development.
CSS Publication Number:
Alfaro, Jose and Shelie Miller. “Evaluating The Development And Demographics Of Electrical Grids In Third World Countries Through Agent Based Models.” 6th International Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) Proceedings. Berkeley, CA, June 7-10 2011, Abstract #93.