Fueling a Transition: Evaluating the Feasibility for a Hybrid Renewable Microgrid In Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo
This project (1) explores the economic feasibility of a 600-kW renewable energy microgrid in the city of Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, (2) creates a survey instrument to assess local farmers’ willingness-to-accept payment for providing agricultural residues for use in a biomass gasifier, (3) performs optimization analysis for the design of a solar and biomass powered microgrid. The overarching goal of the study is to determine whether a renewable microgrid could provide reliable power at a lower cost than diesel generators. A framework has been established so that once available, survey results can be smoothly integrated into the techno-economic model. The more accurate picture of biomass costs and availability will better inform system design decisions. Model results indicate that the optimal portfolio for this renewable grid is a combination of 238 kW of solar generation, 380 kW of biomass generation, and 689 kWh of battery storage. Our model indicates a levelized cost of electricity range for this
portfolio between $0.32 and $0.43 per kWh, which suggests that our proposed system will be able to achieve cost-parity with the diesel generation commonly available in the city.