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 Thursday, 24 April 2008

The rapporteur would like to remind all the participants to refer to the ?Analysis of case studies on successful practices in telecommunications for rural and remote remote areas? published by the ITU as report of ITU SG2 for Q10-1/2 during 3rd study period (2002-2006). It gives under the annex from 47-53 on the ?Reducing Off-Grid Energy Costs for Small-Scale Rural ICT Projects?. The annex was provided by Ms. Rebecca Mayer of Winrock International (USA) to the rapporteur?s group meeting as their contribution and agreed to be included in the report. The following is the extracts from the annex. The complete text is downloadable free of charge from :



The cost of providing electricity for small-scale ICT projects in off-grid and poorly electrified areas can consume as much as 80% of initial project funds if energy demand is not managed properly from the outset.

When on-site energy generation and storage systems are used, the selection of low-power ICT equipment such as notebook computers, low-power desktop computers, LCDs screens, and ink jet printers (Figure A-1) can result in significant net savings in initial project costs by reducing the need for energy. Simply using energy efficient notebook computers instead of desktop systems can reduce the upfront investment in an off-grid, solar-powered telecenter by over USD 30 000. One of the primary goals of this discussion is to raise awareness of the relationship between ICTs and energy, and the financial benefits of considering energy needs early in the process when planning ICT programs in unelectrified rural areas.


Figure A-1 ? Energy-Saving ICT Options for Off-Grid Projects




Even when grid power is available, low ICT power consumption may be beneficial if the grid is unreliable and subject to frequent power outages. When the grid has frequent outages, a back-up electricity generator and/or a battery system may be needed to ensure continuous availability of electricity. As with distributed energy generation systems, the cost of a back-up battery system typically increases with the capacity of the battery bank. In general, the less energy the ICTs are consuming, the less expensive it will be to supply any shortfalls that may arise during the lifetime of the project.

A variety of field tested, commercialized standalone power systems are available to provide electricity for small-scale rural ICT applications. Energy management is particularly important with the use of photovoltaic (PV) and small wind systems. An assessment of the availability, quality and reliability of access to electricity at the site of proposed information and communications facilities can be a valuable cost-saving tool when matched with an understanding of distributed energy options and the impact that ICT power requirements have on energy system size and cost.

Small-scale energy needs are defined in this paper as the consumption of no more than 10 or 12 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day. These needs can typically be met by power systems with rated capacities ranging from tens of Watts up to 2 to 3 kilowatts (kW) of peak power. In practical terms, power systems within this size range are capable of supporting applications such as battery charging for cell phones; a satellite dish, television and videocassette player for distance education; or a rural telecenter with eight to ten energy-efficient computers. Once the demand for electricity starts to exceed the range defined above, greater economies of scale in the purchase of energy system equipment begin to tip the balance of cost-benefit analyses toward different solutions and approaches.

Rural Energy Options

There are a number of ways to power small-scale ICT installations in locations that are not served by the electricity grid. Typically, the easiest and least expensive solution from the end user?s perspective is to arrange for the extension of the electricity grid to the project site. The cost of grid extension increases with the distance from the grid at a rate of several thousand U.S. dollars per kilometre (Table A-1). Therefore grid extension often starts to become economically prohibitive farther than three to five km from the grid.

When grid extension is not an option, a stand-alone or distributed power system can be installed to generate electricity at a location close to the site where the electricity is needed. Examples of small-scale, standalone power systems include generator sets powered by diesel, photovoltaic systems, small wind systems, and micro-hydro systems. Power systems based on renewable energy resources such as sunlight, wind and running water typically incur most of their costs up front with the initial purchase and installation of the system. On the other hand, power options based on fossil fuels tend to have lower initial investment costs and much higher running costs over time (Table A-1).

Table A-1 ? Costs of Energy Options for Off-Grid ICT Installations



Grid extension

Solar PV

Small wind




Capital costs2

USD 4 000 to

USD 10 0003

per km

USD 12 000 to

USD 20 000

per kW

USD 2 000 to

USD 8 000

per kW

USD 1 000 to

USD 4 000

per kW

USD 1 000

per kW

Operating costs4

USD 80 to

USD 120

per 1 000 kWh


per 1 000 kWh

USD 10

per 1 000 kWh

USD 20

per 1 000 kWh

USD 250

per 1 000 kWh




2 Capital costs include energy system components, installation, vendor markups, taxes and duties.

3 NRECA, February 2000.

4 Source: U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, 1992. Grid operating costs are based on retail electricity rates of USD 0.08 to

USD 0.12 per kWh. Generator operating costs include fuel at a price of USD 0.50/liter.

 (End of Extracts)


Yasuhiko Kawasumi, rapporteur

Thursday, 24 April 2008 04:30:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]  |  Related posts:
Revised Topics and Facilitators (Kawasumi 2008/03/30)
Low energy ICT devices (Hector 2008/03/29)

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