Alexis Powers is a senior web project manager in NREL's Communications & Public Affairs Office. She holds a B.S. in Earth and Ocean Sciences from Duke University and an Advanced Social Media Strategy certification from Syracuse University.
Private Sector Training Empowers Minigrid Proposals for Haiti
Following a Framework for Quality Assurance
September 26, 2019
In March 2019, the Government of Haiti released an official request for proposals as part of a broader plan to support the development of minigrids. Minigrids generally involve small-scale electricity generation and can advance energy transitions in rural areas by enabling a power supply for communities lacking reliable electricity. While the basic engineering principles of minigrids are well established, diverse construction and operation methods result in varied power quality and reliability.
To enable a successful policy framework, the Haitian Ministry of Public Works, Transportation, and Communication partnered with USAID, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the World Bank to develop a request for proposals for the development of 54 minigrids in Haiti. The process focused on enabling high-quality bids for the development of the minigrid projects, many of which were planned as hybrid systems incorporating significant shares of renewable energy.
Pre-selected developers had the opportunity to participate in a targeted training focused on key topics of interest, which were identified in advance. NREL guided participants through a two-day training on critical topics related to minigrid projects, such as demand assessment, system design, tariff considerations, financing, and system maintenance and operation.
The training was broadly modelled around NREL’s Quality Assurance Framework for Minigrids, which provides recommended guidelines and approaches to support the development of safe, high-quality, and financially viable minigrid power systems for remote customers.
More than 20 private sector developers from Haiti and around the world came together for the training. The participants not only gained exposure to best practices, but also took part in productive discussions about ways to implement the recommended approaches in the Haitian context.
In the coming months, the Government of Haiti will continue to work with USAID, NREL and the World Bank to further support minigrid development that can expand access to electricity for urban and rural households. For example, NREL also provided a training to several Government of Haiti stakeholders on developing a broader policy environment for minigrids including:
- opportunities to unpack the RFP into individual policies.
- monitoring and evaluation for minigrids.
- enabling productive use of minigrids.
Adding to their work in the country, the USAID-NREL Partnership also developed a Renewable Energy (RE) Data Explorer for Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This tool performs visualization and analysis of renewable energy potential that can be customized for different scenarios. RE Data Explorer can support prospecting, integrated planning, policymaking, and other decision-making activities to accelerate renewable energy deployment. The tool can be used to inform investments and broader energy sector planning and target-setting.
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Sadie Cox is a Senior Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She has managed several projects related to low-emission development strategies (LEDS) during her ten years at NREL and serves as a lead for power sector transformation through the LEDS Global Partnership. Sadie’s areas of research expertise relate to design and implementation of LEDS, approaches to enable international collaboration and capacity-building for LEDS, power sector transformation and resilience, and distributed generation for energy access.