ENEJI PWOP LAUNCHES AKADEMI ENEJI (ENERGY ACADEMY), CONDUCTS NATIONAL MICROGRID MARKET STUDY IN HAITI
Recognizing the lack of credible market data as a major barrier, The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) funded Enèji Pwòp to lead a national microgrid market study in Haiti. The consortium that sprang into action was in many ways a dream team of local and international contributors working to conduct outreach and research throughout the small towns of off-grid Haiti.
Enèji Pwòp named the field research portion of the effort “Akademi Enèji” – Energy Academy – because it would engage students and would, through training and conversation, increase the energy literacy of the researchers and those being interviewed in the selected towns. Globally, few people speak ‘microgrid’ which is a combination of technical, social, physical, and economic vocabularies, but that language and understanding is necessary to any successful microgrid development. Thirty-eight field researchers joined Akademi Enèji including 30 masters level Haitian students specifically recommended by the deans of their universities as high-performing candidates for the researcher positions. During an intensive ‘microgrid bootcamp’ in Les Anglais, researchers dove into classes ranging from ‘electricity 101’ to ‘survey research methodology’.
Nothing about the study was easy. Political unrest put moods on edge during the training sessions. Someone got hospitalized for typhoid. Two researchers drank only Coca-cola for days because there was no potable water. Logistics problems and remote cash management challenges plagued the entire exercise, but the work got done. Each field researcher, equipped with a specially configured tablet computer, conducted custom surveys with town residents, business owners, and community leaders; each registered observations and uploaded GPS points. In all, 93 towns were catalogued, and we hope to publish a final report early next year.
Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this giant undertaking. Thanks in particular to Energy and Security Group, Thunder Capital, The Haiti Energy Institute, USTDA, and, most of all, to the volunteers and field researchers for their diligent work.
With detailed, relevant, and credible microgrid market data now in hand, EarthSpark and Enèji Pwòp are one critical step closer to a plan that can bring microgrids to towns across Haiti (and beyond!)