CSS Research Forum

Event Type: 
Nick Curran, Carly Kadlec & Jon Newman
Friday, November 6, 2020 - 12:30pm to 1:15pm
Event Sponsor: 
Center for Sustainable Systems

Please join us for our third CSS Research Forum of Fall 2020.  We'll hear a Master's Project presentation from a team of SEAS students advised by Dr. Jose Alfaro.

Title: Coexistence of Microgrids with the National Grid in India and Their respective contributions to Household Development

Abstract: This project examines the coexistence of microgrid and government grid connections for households in India and studies the relationship between these connections and their individual contributions to social well-being of rural households. As India’s government grid expands, solar microgrids once providing stand-alone energy solutions are now used alongside government infrastructure. This provides a unique opportunity to understand how both electricity options compete and how each energy supply contributes to social well-being. Our research administered surveys to 149 households across 8 villages in Northern India with access to microgrids developed by Boond Solar and the government grid. Energy access of the microgrid was measured using the World Bank’s multi-tier framework for energy access (capacity, availability, and reliability). Social indicators measuring economics, education, and access to appliances were captured. Additional fieldwork was conducted in 4 of the surveyed villages. Although communities with government grid access now have greater access to energy capacity, this study identified a high number of households that were unable to make use of their expanded electricity capacity due to the inability to afford household and productive use appliances. There is a tipping point where higher energy access does not accelerate well-being, but instead income and the ability to purchase appliances are the limiting factor. To support social well-being, expanded electricity capacity must be accompanied by a holistic economic development approach including opportunities to increase household income. The work also found that the extension of the government grid relegated microgrids to a backup role and significantly lowered their profitability.

Nick Curran:
Nick is a dual-degree student at the University of Michigan where he is studying to get his MBA from the Ross School of Business and MS from the School for Environment and Sustainability. He is interested in renewable energy finance as well as the development and commercialization of new clean technologies. Previously, Nick worked as a product manager building financial software for energy trading markets. He also has experience in digital consulting for consumer technology companies. Nick graduated from Tulane University in 2013 with an M.S. in Energy Management.

Carly Kadlec
Carly is a dual-degree student pursuing her MBA/MS at the University of Michigan and the Erb Institute. Before joining the Erb community, Carly spent 8 years working in international agriculture and value chain development throughout Latin America. Carly is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras, 2010-2012) and enjoys talking about coffee in all its forms. She continues to focus on bringing social and environmental justice to our global agricultural value chains.

Jon Newman:
Jon is a dual-degree student in the Erb Institute (MBA/MS) focused on the intersection of technology and business in the renewable energy industry. Prior to graduate school, Jonathan worked in management consulting focused on supply chain and corporate sustainability. He earned his BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University. He is now building on his technical and business background to help accelerate the transition to clean, reliable energy.

To join this Zoom event: https://umich.zoom.us/j/96076389340  passcode:  242323

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