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WEBINAR | THE MINIGRID GAME | Introduction and Case Studies - Ayu Abdullah, Energy Action Partners

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Smart Villages/LCEDN webinar series

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Minigrids. They're one of the most attractive models for remote community electrification. They're scalable, and flexible, and capable of supplying power at levels that really permit productive use to be made of the power. But at the same time, they raise alot of questions - what is the most appropriate structure, size, payment system etc for a particular local community. Getting these things wrong has led to systems failing, or not having the development impact they were intended to have.

To try to address some of these issues, Energy Action Partners have devised their Minigrid Game. This is a collaborative role-playing game built around a representation of a minigrid system, intended to be used as an educational and collaborative planning tool in designing a community-sized minigrid system. The game is designed to be used within a process that explores minigrid planning and operational decisions.

The Minigrid Game is a completely novel way for communities to develop workable solutions to the unique challenges of managing a community minigrid, such as system sizing, tariff-setting, and demand-side management. By playing as a group, the players can also improve their understanding of energy technology, practice negotiation and consensus-building skills, and most importantly, have fun.

Join us on Tuesday 15th to hear more about the game and its applications from Scott Kennedy, Executive Director and Ayu Abdullah, Southeast Asia Director of Enact Partners, and also for an opportunity for all partipants worldwide to play the game live during the webinar!

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WEBINAR | THE MINIGRID GAME | Introduction and Case Studies - Ayu Abdullah, Energy Action Partners

  1. 1. THE MINIGRID GAME A PARTICIPATORY GAMING APPROACH TO COMMUNITY ENERGY PLANNING Webinar | May 15, 2018 Organized by Smart Villages, LCEDN, and Energy Action Partners.
  2. 2. OUR MISSION To expand individual opportunity and strengthen communities through collaborative programs focused on sustainable energy access. VISION To promote resilient and inclusive communities while preserving social cohesion, a strong sense of identity, and community values. CORE VALUES We prioritize human development outcomes over infrastructure provision. was founded in 2014 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote community development through training, capacity building and development projects related to sustainable energy. 
 We maintain offices in Boston, Kuala Lumpur, and Hargeisa, Somaliland.
  3. 3. Energy Action Partnersoutline ‣ Community participation and gaming ‣ Why is community participation important? ‣ Different levels of participation ‣ Why gaming? ‣ The Minigrid Game ‣ What is it? ‣ How we use The Minigrid Game ‣ Outcomes ‣ Village context ‣ The Sabah experience ‣ Q&A session ‣ Let’s play The Minigrid Game!
  5. 5. Energy Action PartnersWhy community participation? A FEW COMMON NON- TECHNICAL CHALLENGES Poorly sized system Unable to meet community demand or ability to pay Insufficient revenue Ineffective enforcement leads to underpayment or theft Insufficient savings Tariff is too low to afford maintenance or repairs Poor maintenance Initial funding dries up and no one takes over O&M Load curtailment conflicts “Unfair” load shedding during dry seasons No productive use Investment in machinery not coordinated with system design Stronger reliance on community participation in planning and management can mitigate many of these challenges
  6. 6. Increasinglevelofparticipation Energy Action Partnerscommunity participation REASONS FOR STRONG COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION 1. Receiving information from the community leads to better design. 2. Educating community improves user cooperation and enhances their ability and motivation to look after the system. 3. Involving community in planning and management can leverage local authority and make a system more resilient to future challenges.
  8. 8. Energy Action Partnerscommunity participation Conventional approaches Interviews Surveys Presentations
  9. 9. Energy Action Partnersgaming WHY A GAME? ‣ Engaging: playful environment increases attention and interest ‣ Experiential: players learn by direct experience through simulation ‣ Self-mobilizing: players become active participants while external actors become facilitators ‣ Non-judgmental: simulated world allows exploration of taboo topics ‣ Consensus building: cooperative game requires discussion and collaborative decision-making
  11. 11. Energy Action PartnersThe minigrid game WHAT IS THE MINIGRID GAME? ‣ It’s both a participatory minigrid design and planning tool and an educational tool. ‣ As an educational tool, it helps users understand operations and the economics behind microgrids. ‣ As a design tool, it creates a collaborative environment and allows for users to negotiate and reach consensus on design parameters, as well as management policies.
  12. 12. Energy Action PartnersThe minigrid game WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? The goal: To collaboratively design a renewable energy minigrid that enables the community to thrive at present and into the future. The outcomes: To increase skills and understanding, transparency of the system’s limitations, productive end use.
  13. 13. Community Community Organizers Practitioners Energy Action PartnersThe minigrid game BROADER PLANNING PROCESS   Building trust and exploring options Participatory planning process Community confirmation and commitment Design and implementa tion Operation and self- governance Community expression of interest
  15. 15. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience VILLAGE CONTEXT ‣ Three, rural communities in the Ulu Papar district of Sabah, Malaysia ‣ Strong sense of community and institutions ‣ Villagers are self-sustaining, subsistence farmers ‣ They also hunt and fish, sell rice, vegetables, fish and meat to one another. Other sources of income include rubber sales, running homestays and working as tour guides or in construction ‣ Local challenges: Relocation due to a planned dam, limited household incomes, poor connective infrastructure (roads), limited electrification
  16. 16. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience THE MINIGRID GAME IN ACTION ‣ In July 2017, three Minigrid Game workshops were hosted in Terian, Buayan and Timpayasa ‣ Pre-workshop social mapping activities were conducted to help calibrate game parameters ‣ Each workshop lasted approximately 2-3 hours ‣ Players formed minigrid ‘household’ teams while an ‘operator’ facilitated the game and discussions INTRODUCTION TO GAME INITIALIZATION AND TEST PLAY GAME ROUNDS (MINIGRID SIMULATION) DISCUSSIONS CHANGING MINIGRID SETTINGS AND PARAMETERS (DESIGN) CONCLUSION AND FEEDBACK
  17. 17. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Terian
  18. 18. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Terian
  19. 19. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Terian
  20. 20. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Buayan
  21. 21. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Buayan
  22. 22. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Buayan
  23. 23. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Timpayasa
  24. 24. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Kampung Timpayasa
  25. 25. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience OUTCOMES Kampung Terian Kampung Buayan Kampung Timpayasa Key challenges • Micro-hydro system damaged by landslide • No consensus on use of funds for repairs • Meters ill-suited for current needs • Limited power supply during drought • No community microgrid or power system Outcomes • Preferred a prepaid system • Used the game to test different tariffs • Explored peak demand fines • Expressed interest in obtaining the game to continue using with the rest of the community • Preferred a prepaid system • Mismatch between Game’s prepaid collection and actual collection • Expressed interest in an upgraded prepaid meter that would display information similar to the game’s user interface (e.g. load profiles and real-time energy use) • Preferred a prepaid system • Used the game to learn about their consumption patterns, peaks and ability to pay • Household bills were higher than the other two • Expressed interest in individual home systems over a microgrid, but liked the fact that a community- based microgrid would enable payment sinto a shared fund
  26. 26. Energy Action PartnersThe sabah experience Achieving a high level of community participation in planning, managing and using an energy system requires alignment with their value system
  27. 27. Energy Action Partners Development and demonstration of The Minigrid Game in Ulu Papar, Sabah has been supported by