Huy Nguyen


Anti-pylon Brits Could Herald New Off-grid Era

Retired film-maker Christopher Hamblin is unmoved at the prospect of a lump-sum payment from developers to compensate him for electricity towers and cables they want to build near his village in the east of England.

“That’s the trouble with these guys — they know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” says the 86-year-old resident of Ardleigh in Essex, a centuries-old settlement surrounded by some of the country’s most recognisable landscapes. 

Hamblin and his fellow residents are part of a growing backlash in local communities across Britain against the expansion of power grids as the steps needed to decarbonise the economy start to encroach on them.

In an attempt to counter this resistance Nick Winser, the government’s electricity networks commissioner, has recommended lump-sum payments to households living close to proposed transmission lines. It was one of several measures aimed at cutting in half the 14 years it takes to complete these projects.

The government wants to decarbonise the electricity sector by 2035, while demand for electricity is expected to double or treble as the economy moves away from fossil fuels under its legally binding target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Electric Vehicles and AI data centres have added a crushing new burden.

The offer of cash for pylons (as towers are named in the UK) has not changed the mood in Ardleigh, which is in the path of a new 183km north-south high voltage transmission line that National Grid wants to build through the East Anglian countryside. It would run from Norwich in Norfolk down to Tilbury in Essex and bring in renewable electricity generated from new offshore wind farms.

It is one of several new electricity transmission lines being planned around Britain to move clean electricity often generated in remote coastal locations into more populated areas where it is needed.

The East Anglia plan mainly involves cables carried on 50m-tall pylons dotted across the countryside, including around Ardleigh, which sits on the edge of the protected countryside of Dedham Vale, made famous in the 19th-century masterpieces by local artist John Constable.

The reason for the opposition varies, ranging from blighting the landscape to the impact on farmers or health, but most opponents would rather see the power lines replaced by undersea cables running from the wind farms most of the way down to Tilbury.

“Every single house within that location — we will be in a cage of electricity pylons,” says Chris Whitfield, chair of Ardleigh parish council, pointing out part of the proposed route on a map. 

Campaigners are well-organised, learning from other groups across the country, and are prepared to resort to legal action.

Local farm owner Charles Tritton suggested the anger is such that it could hurt the Tory party electorally. “The whole of East Anglia is pretty Conservative,” he said. “Add one or two per cent [swing vote] due to this …

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Shortage of cables means grid delays and rising costs

Every major economy is fighting for supplies needed to expand their electricity grids. Over 80 MILLION kilometers of cable will have to be replaced by 2040 under current decarbonisation plans, says the International Energy Authority.

In the UK alone that is 100 km of heavy-duty overhead cable per DAY from now until 2040.  the rate of cable laying is unprecedented – approximately 16 TIMES the rate over the past 30 years.  The manpower and the resources do not currently exist.

Demand is pushing up prices, and queues for energy are growing longer.   New housing developments in West London are being quoted 10 YEARS, before they can get a grid connection, and  the same is happening everywhere.

Britain’s first electricity networks commissioner, Nick Winser, warned in a landmark report earlier this year that the UK would need to connect about four times as much new transmission capacity to the network in the next seven years as has been built since 1990.

To meet this challenge, Britain will need to halve the time it takes to build and install pylons and cables for a new transmission project from 12-14 years to just seven.

He also said existing energy policies were “badly out of date”, and the UK needed a new strategy to shore up its manufacturing supply chain, which would involve training skilled workers.

High-voltage cables and equipment looked set to be in short supply for years or even decades, said Winser, because already producers were struggling to meet demand. As happened with vaccines during the pandemic, companies and even governments will find themselves competing to snap up available stocks.

And skills gaps threatened to “haunt” the UK’s green agenda, he added, unless there was heavy investment to create a new reservoir of trained staff.

Already energy companies have been “scrambling” to secure manufacturing slots, according to Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE. He told the Observer that his company, which has this year committed to investing more than £40bn in green energy and grid upgrades over the coming decade, had secured “around 80%” of the materials it would need for its grid upgrades.

British-owned cable manufacturer XLCC is planning to build the UK’s first factory making high-voltage undersea cables in Ayrshire to help meet demand. Production could begin as early as 2026.

Ian Douglas, XLCC’s chief executive, believes demand for high-voltage cables will increase sixfold over the next seven years, as global use of renewable energy expands. Its first order is from its parent XLinks, for four 3,800km cables to connect solar and windfarms in the Moroccan Sahara to the UK.

“The whole impetus and momentum of net zero risks being hamstrung by a lack of cable,” said Douglas. “The requirement to upgrade the grids is global, and it’s treble what we’re investing globally today.”

The government has accepted the recommendations of Winser’s report, and has already announced steps to …

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Utility Vote In Maine Asks Wrong Question

In tomorrow’s ballot, Mainers are poised to vote on an unprecedented plan to rid themselves of the state’s two largest electric utilities and start with a non-profit.
But voters are being offered a false choice, since it will not affect how their power is generated, and one of the two companies that is set to be booted out is already a publicly owned company, controlled by the city of Calgary, Canada.

There is no option for power to be generated locally, thereby reducing transmission costs, nor increasing local control of energy. Nor is there any reference to renewable energy.

The proposed takeover of two investor-owned utilities that distribute 97% of electricity in the state would mark the first time a U.S. state’s utilities were forcibly removed at the same time. The referendum calls for dismantling Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant Power and replacing them with a nonprofit utility called Pine Tree Power to operate 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) of transmission lines.
CMP serves more than 600,000 customers in central and southern Maine, while Versant Power delivers power to more than 165,000 customers in northern and eastern Maine. Combined, the two investor-owned utilities (IOUs) serve about 97 percent of the state.

CMP is a subsidiary of Avangrid, which is is owned by the Spain-based Iberdrola. That company’s primary shareholders include the governments of Qatar and Norway.
Versant is a subsidiary of Enmax, whose sole shareholder is the City of Calgary in Canada.
Across the country, ratepayers who are unhappy with their utilities are watching what happens when Mainers vote on Nov. 7 in the off-year election.
Question 3 asks:
“Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?”
A “yes” vote on Question 3 would form The Pine Tree Power Company.
The first-of-its-kind plan would create a new “consumer-owned utility” (COU) would still be tasked with operating, maintaining and upgrading the state’s power grid. To do that, Pine Tree Power would buy out CMP and Versant’s assets.
While it’s still unclear how much that would cost, the new utility would pay for it by borrowing against future revenue. Supporters of the proposal say as a non-profit, the new utility could qualify for lower-interest loans that would be paid back through ratepayer revenue with no taxpayer dollars being used.
Pine Tree Power would be independent of the state and instead be operated by a 13-member board. Seven members would be elected by Maine voters. The other six, who have been labeled as expert advisors, would be appointed by the elected members.
To run the grid and continue supplying electricity to the state, the board would also be tasked with appointing Pine Tree Power’s senior leadership and hiring a private grid operator to over see the day-to-day operations like billing, metering and customer service. …

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“Gas-Free Town” Launches Solar Offer

As one of the westernmost towns in the country, Esperance is at the leading edge of Australia’s renewable energy generation. It is transitioning from gas to solar energy, and the process, started in 2017, is almost completed with a new initiative to include the remaining households that were unable to do their own solar installation.

The story begins in 2019 when 14 remote farms ditched their electricity supplied via conventional powerlines for solar energy based micro power systems (MPS).

A Government-owned corporation supplying electricity to around 100,000 residents and 10,000 businesses scattered across approximately 2.3 million square kilometres, had tired of maintaining long stretches of powerlines servicing small communities and farms, and  subject to hazards such as lightning strikes, falling trees and high winds; creating a major cost burden.

Micro Power Systems – Safer, More Reliable, Cheaper

Since 2017  the government agency, Horizon Power, has been trialling solar power based stand-alone systems at various locations that have not only proved to be more reliable, but also cheaper for Horizon to operate and maintain.

The MPS units use solar panels and battery storage sized to a property’s requirements, along with a back-up diesel generator for emergency charging  when needed. Battery storage will be sized to ensure it can meet a customer’s energy requirements for a typical 24 hour period without any solar electricity input. Diesel top-ups will be taken care of by Horizon, which will be remotely monitoring fuel levels.

All costs associated with design, installation and maintenance of the units are met by Horizon Power, which owns and operates the systems. Customers pay the same tariff that currently applies for electricity from the overhead network.

The newly established Shark Lake Renewables Hub, comprising solar panels, wind turbines, and a battery energy storage system, is set to expand its capacity, making Esperance a beacon of sustainable energy for the entire region.

Horizon Power has recently  launched “Sunshine Saver,” a subscription service that aims to make the benefits of renewable energy accessible to all residents, including those unable to install rooftop solar.

In this gas-free town, where over 50% of power comes from a mix of solar, wind, and battery storage, Sunshine Saver aims to empower households to save on energy bills and contribute to a greener future. Designed for up to 500 eligible customers, the base subscription fee of only $1 per day provides five units of energy daily, resulting in an average 11% reduction in energy bills or A$186 savings per year.

But the savings don’t stop there. By shifting their energy use between 6am and 6pm, when excess solar power is fed to the local grid, customers can enjoy an additional 10% discount on power costs, even without direct access to rooftop solar panels or electric vehicles.

The town’s electrification process began in 2021 when the reticulated gas network ceased operations, prompting Horizon Power to facilitate the transition to …

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Simple 5kWh Microhydro System: A Budget-Friendly Guide

A 5 kWh microhydro system offers an affordable and simple way to meet the essential energy needs of a small household.

In places with little or no sun in winter, a year round energy supply is not possible with solar panels alone. Help is at hand for the lucky ones who have access to a stream or river. As well as providing you wlth fresh water, it can also offer you electrical power, without steep costs and complicated setups.

The Nitty-Gritty: Specifications and Costs

Water Intake (Approx. Cost: $100 – $200)
A basic intake structure, or small dam, can be built using affordable, local materials.
Penstock Pipe (Approx. Cost: $300 – $600)
An 8-inch diameter PVC pipe should suffice for this smaller system.
Turbine (Approx. Cost: $500 – $1,000)
Consider a second-hand or smaller Pelton wheel turbine to save costs.
Or an Impulse turbines for a small waterfall or fast-running stream.
A tiny version of this setup can be built for a few hundred dollars using this kind of turbine – https://amzn.to/3EQPPYp (In the UK – https://amzn.to/3t7sxLo)
Generator (Approx. Cost: $300 – $600)
A modest, possibly used, 5 kW generator will meet your requirements.
Tailrace (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
A basic channel to lead the water back to the stream.
Control System ( Approx. Cost: $100 – $200)
A basic electronic load controller should be enough for this setup.
Single Car Battery (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
One 12-volt car battery can serve as your energy storage unit.
Inverter (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
A simple 12-volt inverter should be sufficient.

Total Costs & Charging Abilities
You’re looking at a total cost of around $1,500 to $3,000, which is exceptionally budget-friendly.

Energy Consumption in a Two-Person Household:
Two Laptops
• Total: 0.8 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Early morning
Two Phones
• Total: 0.12 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Mid-morning
Four LED Lights
• Total: 0.2 kWh
• Usage Time: Evening
Small Rechargeable Brushcutter (Two Hours)
• Total: 0.2 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Mid-afternoon
Wi-Fi Battery-Powered Projector (Three Hours)
• Total: 0.9 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Late afternoon
Grand Total
0.8 kWh (Laptops) + 0.12 kWh (Phones) + 0.2 kWh (LED Lights) + 0.2 kWh (Brushcutter) + 0.9 kWh (Projector) = 2.12 kWh

By staggering the charging times and usage, you can ensure that all of these appliances and gadgets run smoothly within your 5 kWh limit. This leaves you with extra power to spare for any other activities or unforeseen needs.

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Sian Gwenillian outdoor shot

Gov spends £750k for off-grid power in Wales

A new, publicly-owned energy company has been launched by the Welsh government, as part of the Labour government’s co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.
Eleven projects are set to receive funding over the next three years, including Cwm Arian for a “heart of Dyfed power unlocker” project on the border between Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, and the Dyffryn Ogwen Gynaladwy project in Bethesda, Gwynedd.
Ynni Cymru will be based at the M-Sparc site on Anglesey and aims to expand community-owned renewable energy initiatives.

Climate change minister, Julie James, and Plaid Cymru’s designated member, Siân Gwenllian, visited the Anafon Hydro project in Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd.

Almost one GWh of electricity is generated each year from its base in Eryri National Park.

Julie James said the “market-based approach to the energy system is not delivering decarbonisation at the scale or pace necessary for the climate emergency”.

“Local use of locally generated energy is an effective way to support net zero and keep the benefit in our communities,” she added.

Siân Gwenllian added: “As we face multiple challenges of a climate crisis and high energy bills, it is more important than ever that we develop renewable energy projects that have local benefit and ownership as a core aim.”

The Welsh Conservatives’ shadow climate minister, Janet Finch-Saunders, said she welcomed the investment but accused Labour and Plaid Cymru of “ignoring the elephant in the room”.

“There are hundreds of watercourses running through privately owned land in Wales,” she said.

“Alongside support for community-owned schemes, the Welsh Government should be removing barriers to privately owned schemes.”

Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer announced in June that Great British Energy – a clean energy company – would be established in the first year of a Labour government in Westminster, with its base in Scotland.

The payments will be made in the form of grants over the next three years.

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Video of the everlasting flame, Chimera Turkey

UK Hydrogen Policy Damaging Energy Security

Just as the world wakes up to the huge potential of natural hydrogen deposits, which could fuel the planet “for hundreds of years,” the UK government has dropped plans to replace home gas boilers with hydrogen alternatives.

The US Geological Survey concluded in April 2023 that there is probably enough accessible hydrogen in the earth’s subsurface to meet total global demand for “hundreds of years”. In May, Française De l’Énergie and researchers from GeoRessources made Europe’s biggest discovery to date, finding 15pc hydrogen content at a depth of 1,100 metres.

Domestic heating accounts for about 17% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, and heating industry lobbyists have been pushing Hydrogen for years, but the UK industry is doing little to train the workforce in the complexities of new heating tech, or to prepare suitable products ready for the switch to hydrogen, originally scheduled by 2030 but now 2035.

Grant Shapps, UK energy minister, has indicated it is “less likely” that hydrogen would be routinely piped into people’s homes, amid growing concerns about cost, safety and perpetuating a reliance on fossil fuels.

However the use of fossil fuels continues to increase globally, and other carbon reduction techniques could be used.

Shapps said: “There was a time when people thought … you will have something that just looks like a gas boiler and we will feed hydrogen into it.”

He added: “It’s not that we won’t do trials. We will. But I think hydrogen will be used for storing energy.” Energy firms have insisted that hydrogen can be safe and engaged in concerted lobbying of both the government and Labour to convince them of its merits.

But the assurances have failed to convince people asked to take part in large-scale trials of the technology.

Meanwhile, there are limited incentives to encourage UK heating engineers to specialise in low flow temperature heating.  Dr Richard Lowes, senior associate, Regulatory Assistance Project, said the existing UK heating market had focused largely on combination boilers, as they were easier to install and quicker to fit than lower carbon systems because they need fewer design calculations during specification to ensure effective performance.

Systems such as solar thermal or heat pumps, which operate at lower flow temperatures, also require hot water storage, and heat loss from storage renders many systems useless.

By comparison, the price of boiler installation is much higher in Germany due to a focus by engineers in the country around designing system boilers which include combining hot water storage with functions such as weather compensation and other design considerations, Dr Lowes said. These features are intended to ensure a more efficient operation.

The existing UK installer market has two different types of HVAC engineer – those focused solely on providing and servicing simple gas or oil boilers, and design engineers looking at ensuring specific flow temperatures to increase the levels of condensing and also …

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World’s First Micro-Nuclear Greenlit in Canada

In January, GE Hitachi signed a deal to build the first small modular reactor in North America, agreeing a deal with authorities in Ontario, Canada.

GE is among dozens of companies around the world with designs for small, factory-produced reactors. The theory behind mass-producing them is that development costs can be spread over many units to lower costs.

They are also cheap enough for private companies to buy, with the smallest versions being touted as a prospect for powering container ships.

Early leaders like Rolls Royce are falling behind because of slow Government decision-making on SMRs and their higher-tech cousins advanced modular reactors (AMRs), which are a few years further away in deployment.

Some developers have abandoned hopes of taxpayer funding, but without guidance from the regulator about how far off design approvals may be, and a site to show that their technology works, lenders are skittish about committing to big projects.

Without these assurances, orders and jobs are on the line. However, the industry is hesitant to attack governments openly, given the requirement to win Government approval (and funding). Governments tend to favor home-grown companies, whihc makes the GE deal suprising.

In the UK, for example, foreign-controlled Rolls Royce still has the inside track – a government spokesman said: “Small modular reactors could play a vital role in our nuclear programme as we work to increase our energy independence and security, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and exposure to volatile global gas prices.

“The Government is investing in these new technologies through the £385m Advanced Nuclear Fund including £210m towards the Rolls-Royce SMR programme. We will announce plans for the set-up of Great British Nuclear soon, and we are committed to backing it with appropriate funding to support projects and investment.”

Tom Samson, chief executive Rolls-Royce SMR, said: “We have over 600 members of staff in the UK, dedicated to bringing our technology to market at pace – a British solution to a global energy crisis.

“Rolls-Royce SMR has called for rapid progress from the Government and we welcome the adoption of that principle in this process.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with Government and Great British Nuclear to realise their ambitions as quickly as possible.”

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Thermometer and phone sweat
Energy|Off-Grid 101

Never Charge Your Cellphone Battery 100% (& 9 Other Tips)

Miles from anywhere, your battery powered devices are a lifeline – especially your phone. Apple, Samsung and most other device manufacturers say to avoid letting the temperature of your battery-powered gadgets dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or rise above 95 degrees. So make sure you don’t let them freeze overnight. Or get too hot.

Here are some other dos and don’ts for taking care of your precious smartphones.

DON’T: Burn out your battery

You might be abusing your battery, especially if you have a habit of leaving the screen on, shutting down apps or tossing it in your bag on a particularly frigid morning.

Smartphones are designed to keep apps open in the background. Forcibly closing them may satisfy that little part of your brain that wants to keep things neat and tidy, but because it takes more juice to start an app fresh than to wake it up, you’re beating up on your battery every time you do it.
In either case, damage can occur, lowering – in some cases, dramatically – the life of your battery.

Never leave your laptop or mobile device in a hot car or attempt a sub-zero bike ride with your smartphone strapped to the handlebars. If it’s particularly cold outside, keep your phone in a pocket, so it can benefit from the warmth of your body, and conversely, keep electronics out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

2. DO: Charge early and often

Stop with the “all or nothing” thinking when it comes to your smartphone battery. Charging your phone to 100% may seem like a good idea, but if you’re using a high-voltage charger, it can put a strain on your battery. Instead, he said to pull the plug at 80%-90% for optimal usage. Old nickel-based batteries had a memory effect, which meant that if you didn’t charge them from 1-100%, they started to ‘forget’ their maximum capacity. As for the modern-day lithium batteries, the most stress is put on the battery when charging or discharging them fully; both reduce the charging cycles and overall battery life cycle.

Do “more fast top-ups during the day,” versus charging smartphones overnight. Once batteries reach 100%, they will start doing trickle charges, which means that the phone will allow the charge to drop down a little and then recharge to 100%.

Try to keep the battery above 30% or so, letting it discharge occasionally to calibrate the sensors, and you’ll keep your battery healthier longer.

Even the most battery-conscious among us find our phones totally drained from time to time. If you’re on the grid home it’s not a big deal, but what if you’re stuck in an airport terminal or in the desert? To get the absolute fastest charge, toggle on Airplane Mode after plugging it in. Doing so will cut off data connections and should prevent virtually all notifications …

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Map of the relationship between power sources, home and car battery

Your Car Will Be Your Battery

Petaluma, CA – 18th Feb. A new kind of car charger could unleash massive growth in off-grid living. Enphase Energy has announced plans to introduce a system to transfer power generated by electric vehicles and home solar systems either into the power grid, or serve as emergency power sources (i.e. off-grid power).

Company officials say its new two-way charger, or bidirectional electrical vehicle chargers, is “expected to work with most electric vehicles.” It successfully demonstrated the system earlier this month and expects to introduce it next year.

With this news, Enphase has joined a short list of manufacturers vying for a share of this vehicle-to-grid (V2G) market that is forecast to reach $28.12 billion by 2026, according to IndustryARC.com.

Bidirectional charging not only allows direct current to alternating current transfers from solar panels to batteries using inverters, it can also reverse the process using AC-to-DC converters to send power from EV batteries back to a residence to keep lights and appliances running in emergencies, as well as return excess power to the grid for credits or refunds.

“The market for ‘green charging’ options is growing, and Enphase’s bidirectional concept has been well received,” said Mohammad Alkuran, Ph.D., senior director of systems engineering at Enphase. “More new electric vehicles are being designed to include two-way charging systems.”

IndustryARC analysts predict the global V2G market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.28% from 2021 to 2026, based on data showing that adoption of electric vehicles worldwide is affecting demand for EV charging infrastructures.

According to Sam Fiorani, vice president of Auto Forecast Solutions, while “bidirectional charging is still in its infancy, once it becomes mainstream it could revolutionize how EV owners view their vehicles. Instead of seeing their cars and pickups as separate from their homes, they could become more integrated into owner’s lives the way the telephone has become over the past decades.”

He said this technology is also seen as an integral part of the next wave of EV evolution — called V2X, the vehicle-to-everything world — that would interconnect transportation and power systems to transfer electricity stored in EV batteries to the grid, buildings, homes and other energy sourcing destinations.

Bidirectional electric-vehicle charging is part of a home energy system that can pull in power from the grid or from on-site sources such as solar panels to charge the vehicle. Properly equipped EVs and chargers can both receive power to charge the battery and send power from the battery to supply the home (vehicle to home, V2H) or the grid (vehicle to grid, V2G).

Bidirectional electric-vehicle charging is part of a home energy system that can pull in power from the grid or from on-site sources such as solar panels to charge the vehicle. Properly equipped EVs and chargers can both receive power to charge the battery and send power from the battery to supply the …

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A Husk micro-grid plant in Nasarawa, central Nigeria. Photo supplied.

Nigeria grows off-grid power

Nigeria announced in 2017 that it would no longer be pursuing a national grid strategy, but instead would develop island power in specific areas across the nation of 231m people. For example, Husk’s six new microgrids have been developed simultaneously in Nigeria as part of a rural electrification program backed by the World Bank. The projects show the considerable possibilities available from the scaling up of microgrid rollout programs.

Located in Nasarawa State, the solar hybrid microgrid projects provides clean, reliable and affordable electricity to about 5,000 households and 500 businesses. Six communities in the Doma and Lafia local government areas will gain access to electricity for the first time. Communities benefiting are Rukubi, Idadu and Igbabo in Doma and Kiguna, Akura and Gidan Buba in Lafia. Developed by Husk Power Systems, the projects will also support local agricultural activities. Manoj Sinha, founder and CEO of Husk Power Systems said: “We have made great progress in rolling out new minigrids and we’re seeing high rvenue per customer at our first 6 sites. We see a potential to add another 500 minigrids in Nigeria over the next 4-5 years.”

Husk is an Indian company that set up in Nigeria after the African country adopted India’s 2016 minigrid policy verbatim in 2017. However, Nigeria proceeded to add minigrids to their national electrification plan and created policies for DISCOMs to integrate with minigrids.

In Juanary 2023 Husk Power Systems secured funding from Germany’s development finance institution DEG to build 8 new community solar microgrids in Nigeria.

DEG allocated the funds from its Up-Scaling Program, which is co-financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The 5-year loan in the amount of $749,000 follows Husk successfully closing debt totalling $10.3 million from EDFI-ElectriFI and IREDA in 2022 to build over 200 microgrids in India.

Sinha, of Husk added: ”Access to affordable debt is critical to scaling solar microgrids in Nigeria, home to 90 million people living without access to electricity. This financing provides Husk with a solid foundation for unlocking additional debt, including local currency debt, this year and beyond.”

The DEG financing is the first debt raised by Husk for its business in Nigeria, where the company currently has 12 operational microgrids, and a target of building 500 by 2026. The 8 microgrids in Nigeria will connect more than 500 residential and commercial customers, reduce the number of diesel generators in use by 400, while creating about 40 new direct local jobs.

Petra Kotte, Head of Banking and German Business Division, DEG: ”Husk is exactly the type of company we’re looking for at the Up-Scaling Program, which supports innovative greentech business models in emerging markets that demonstrate high development impact and a significant reduction of carbon emissions.”


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Off-Grid Second Homes in UK DON’T Need TV License

If you are a part-time off-gridder in the UK, already paying for y0ur TV license elsewhere, then you don’t need to pay the £159 at the second address.

Your home TV licence covers your mobile use outside the home, as long as you watch TV on battery power.

If you plug your device into a mains socket outside your home, that site needs its own TV licence. But if the power  is not mains but a battery, then you don’t need to pay for a license.

Technically, this should also apply if you plug in your device to watch TV or BBC iPlayer on a train, and so on, though that would be somewhat hard to control.

The law says:

Your main home’s TV Licence will cover you unless anyone is watching live on any channel, TV service or streaming service, or using BBC iPlayer*, on any device, at the same time at your main licensed address.

In this case you will need to complete a declaration form, this should only take a couple of minutes –

Non-simultaneous use declaration form – English (PDF 92 KB opens in a new window)

This will be news to many part-time off-grid dwellers, who may have received warning letters demanding they pay the annual license for their second home.

The loophole also applies to

  • Boats, touring caravans or vehicles.
  • Static caravans, mobile homes or moveable chalets.
  • Any device powered solely by its own internal batteries (i.e. it is not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains).

This would include viewing TV in any shed or home which, used renewable-energy-powered batteries  (ie not the mains).

TVs and aerials are still common, but internet streaming means they are no longer required for watching television. The new licensing rules therefore cover not just TVs but PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, games consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, streaming devices from Roku, Amazon and others, set-top boxes and personal video recorders (PVRs).

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