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How do we bring renewable energy to rural areas and make it sustainable?

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Dec 18, 2021
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Bringing renewable energy to less developed rural areas around the world has always been challenging to solve. I chanced upon this video where a whirpool turbine can be used to power up houses and provide enough energy for daily use. Another video likewise uses a turbine, albeit smaller that is designed for slow moving water.
In this journal by OECD or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, "renewable energy policy is expected to deliver in three areas: energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic development (job creation)." However, often times, it is not easy to meet all the deliverables and trade-offs have to be done. For example, "power plants can generate new employment opportunities in rural communities, but may have a negative CO2 balance due to land-use change and transportation of feedstock over relatively long distances."
In terms of policies-planning framework, OECD states that the policies should:
  1. Reflects local potentials and needs
  2. Renewable Energy should integrate with larger supply-chains such as agriculture and tourism
  3. Renewable Energy should be suited to the environment(Eg wind turbines where there is wind)
  4. Use relatively mature technology such as heat from biomass, small scale hydro and wind
  5. Renewable Energy should not hinder other plans and sectors(Eg tourism)
  6. Local's social acceptance
  7. Should also satisfy carbon emission reduction requirements(Not be too intrusive to environment)
  8. Subsidies should not be too high to prevent “rent-seeking” investors
All in all, the form of renewable energy should ideally be a mature technology that is not too expensive(hence doesn't have to rely on subsidies) with choices and scale of projects to reflect local opportunities.
My question to you is:
  1. Can we brainstorm forms of renewable energy that would work for different areas around the world?
  2. How should the policy framework be framed such that it fufils the needs of the locals(job opportunities etc) yet achieves the requirements mentioned in the journal?
For example, someone mentioned that the whirpool turbine could be combined and potentially be a source of irrigation for agriculture and farming. Another website mentioned a invention where a turbine is placed in water pipes that basically functions similarly to a reinvented water wheel. What are your thoughts?
Here are some links that might help!
Creative contributions

Precast, made to order low head micro-hydro whirpool power plants

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Dec 18, 2021
In areas where there are many suitable locations, it would make sense to establish a manufacturing company of turnkey low head whirpool power plants. Anyone with a suitable location adjacent to a small river could call the company.
They would send out a surveyor to take measurements and see if the location is suitable. If it is, the company could do all the work:
  • get a permit for the client to build such a power plant
  • when possible, get state subsidies for the project (some countries provide them for renewable energy projects)
  • pre-cast the entire plant in the factory and deliver it ready for installation
  • make a deal with the power so that the client can sell the excess electricity to the grid
This would be delivered in one piece and placed in the ground:

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie3 years ago
Great idea! However, I am not sure it would be cost-effective transportation wise to pre-cast everything considering the size and weight of the entire installation. However, it would definitely save time in terms of assembling the turbine on site!
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie I imagine it being done like this (minus the annoying music)
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