Localizing Energy Production Around Asia

June 23, 2018 | ProgressTH 

Something we've been following for a long time has been localized energy production. A firsthand example of this in Thailand is the "Pa Deng model," in Phetchaburi province. Another good example is Sisaengtham School in Ubon Ratchathani province.   

Alternative energy is really taking off in Thailand through localized networks taking it upon themselves to jump-start the process. What's interesting is how a similar process is taking place in other nations around Asia. 

A recent article by Sebastian Groh titled Rural Bangladesh has already embraced renewable energy. Here’s what the rest of the world can learn takes a look at how developing nations actually have an advantage when it comes to building decentralized power grids using solar and other renewable sources of energy. 

This is because as developing nations grow, they don't necessarily have to expand their centralized power production models with it. They can choose to use decentralized alternatives, including emerging technology developed nations would have to build over existing, centralized power grids.

It's also possible for these alternative, decentralized grids to be organized and built by communities themselves without waiting for or depending on the central government. 

The article also includes an interesting list of phases communities go through when embracing renewable energy:
As the planet decouples carbon emissions from economic growth, the old paradigm of centralization - where electric power is produced far away from where it is used - will also change. This will bring a democratization of energy generation and consumption, where prosumers will be the key actors disrupting conventional business and delivery models, empowered through digitization that allows automated payment for electricity trades. In The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy, Christoph Burger and Jens Weinmann divide this transition path into three phases, at a country level:

First phase: A country focuses mainly on promoting renewable energy sources, possibly with secondary objectives of establishing a domestic manufacturing base.

Second phase: The share of renewables in the energy mix reaches a level where grid operators have to intervene more frequently to keep the grid in balance. The landscape of utility companies is undergoing significant transformations.

Third phase: The electricity supply industry sees first-hand how their sector is transformed from being a public infrastructure towards a truly private one, where solutions are customized for each producer and consumer.
The article points out how in nations like Bangladesh, there is an opportunity to leapfrog over different phases if a wider awareness of alternatives develops beyond remote communities using alternative energy out of immediate necessity.

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