Cost analysis of electric grid enhancement utilizing distributed generation in post-war reconstruction
Fiala, Darol D. M.
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The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have presented significant civil infrastructure rebuilding challenges to these nations, as well as to the United States, coalition allies, and the United Nations. Iraqi and Afghan critical infrastructure has been destroyed, or fallen into disrepair, due to years of war, international sanctions, sabotage and neglect. Electrical infrastructure, in particular, is a critical economic and social component that is failing to meet the essential needs of these two societies. This paper is a starting point in researching the viability of integrating distributed generation (DG) resources, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, and microturbines into the portfolio of power generation choices, by quantifying the fully burdened cost of electrical generation in war-torn regions. In this paper, Iraq is used as the sample case for investigating the viability of using DG technologies to enhance the existing electric grid. The fully burdened cost is expressed in the annual life-cycle cost (LCC) of each of the five systems (microturbines, diesel generators, photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and large-scale natural gas turbines) researched, "levelized" to $/kW. LCC includes capital costs, operation and maintenance, fuel costs, energy storage and security. This research concludes that microturbine systems offer the most cost effective means of making up a 3500MW deficit in Iraq when fuel prices remain at, or below, a baseline price of $2.29/gal FY09. Photovoltaic systems provide the most cost effective means of making up this deficit when fuel prices increase beyond this baseline price, as they have in Afghanistan.
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