Maldives - Voluntary Demand Participation

Fulhu, M., M. Muaviyath, S. Krumdieck, Voluntary demand participation (VDP) for security of essential energy activities in remote communities with case study in Maldives, Energy for Sustainable Development, 49 (2019) 27-38. 

The Maldives is included in the list of highly vulnerable countries to the projected impacts of climate change. The low height above sea level means the islands risk being inundated with water if sea levels rise. In addition, the significant dependency on petroleum (fossil fuel) imports for the majority of electricity production creates serious economic and financial difficulties (as almost everything even the basic food items are being imported using the foreign currency that comes from the very limited industries). In addition, the continual increase in energy use is unsustainable and immediate action is required to reverse this trend.

We worked on the village island of Fenfushi. The population was about 750, and the island is only 1.7 km2. A village energy audit method was developed by Muavi. The energy audit had a novel aspect that it asked residents to designate which energy end uses are Essential to their wellbeing. The village includes government offices, school, boat-building industry, medical clinic, two mosques, and several shops and cafes. The island has a diesel generator in a power house run by two operators. The powerhouse had four generators but only two were working. The main problem facing the community is fuel shortages. Diesel is delivered once per month. If the fuel is used up before the next delivery, then the power goes off until the next delivery. Recently there have been shortages with outages lasting up to 2 weeks. The island energy audit showed that a nearby resort had given air conditioners and televisions to the villagers (rather than disposing of them in some other way) when updating the facilities. This greatly increased the power demand. 

One major contribution of the work was modelling of the power supply system using voluntary demand participation as well as wind, solar and battery storage to augment the diesel supply. Muavi found that a system with a modest amount of wind, solar PV and battery was lower cost than the current system, ONLY if voluntary demand participation was implemented. Voluntary Demand Participation means asking people to curtail non-essential electricity uses in order to preserve the fuel for essential uses and avoid a black-out. A trial of the system for was carried out by Miraz. The results were very high rates of participation and control of demand during the signal to conserve that was enough to extend the diesel fuel until the next delivery. The people responded well to the concept and were positive about the idea of nominating particular end uses that they would curtail when asked and setting up a village signal system with the operators. 

Miraz Fulhu, Human Intelligence-Integrated Control System for Hybrid Power Networks for Remote Island, PhD Thesis (2014) Commonwealth International Scholarship, Officer MNDF

Muaviyath Mohammed, Energy Constraint and Adaptability; Focus on Renewable Energy on Small Islands; Case Study: Fenfushi, Maldives, PhD Thesis (2011).  Commonwealth International Scholarship, NERI UK Energy School Scholarship; Deputy Vice Chancellor Maldives National University


Rotuma, Fiji - What is sustainable energy? 

Krumdieck, S. and A. Hamm, Strategic analysis methodology for energy systems with remote island case study, Energy Policy, Vol 37,9 (2009) 3301-3313.

What did we learn by studying energy sustainability in one of the most remote islands in the Pacific? 


The access to electricity ranged from no electricity to a few hours of generator power per day, to 12 hours per day at the government station and full electricity services at one residence on the island. The island's experience with "sustainable development" is the same as all other remote communities - Outside aid has brought diesel powered pumps and generators, but most of them aren't working, fuel supply is intermittent and maintenance is nearly impossible when there are only two supply boats per month. The house that has full energy supply has a large solar PV array, a yacht-sized wind generator, a large bank of batteries and diesel generators. The house is also owned by an Australian who built the house after marrying a Rotuman and moving to the island. The villages with a few hours of power used the electricity in the evening after sunset (about 6:00 PM given the equatorial location) for 2-3 small lights per household. For example JuJu Village has a 7 kW generator for 64 residents. 

The contribution of the research is the Strategic Analysis of Complex Systems methodology for looking at the range of development scenarios, assessing the feasibility and the possibility that they could be developed and provide reliable power. Finally, a multi criteria analysis shows which types of technologies and end use systems represent opportunities for the people. An interesting finding was that no electricity, and using traditional coconut oil lamps for light was the preferred option for about 25% of the residents. 

Andreas Hamm, Methodology and Modelling Approach for Strategic Sustainability Analysis of Complex Energy-Environment Systems; Case Study: Rotuma, Fiji, PhD Thesis (2007). UC Targeted Scholarship, Pacific Island Trust Travel Grant.


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