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The Challenge

Imagine that the sun just set, your kids are doing their homework and you are preparing food to sell at market tomorrow. And then your lights go out. In remote communities using off-grid power systems, these types of service interruptions during peak hours are still common. Green Empowerment’s Smart Grids for Small Grids project aims to bring smarter, open source technology to local engineers and technicians who can use it to build more efficient and reliable mini-grids.

The Work

Green Empowerment works with regional partners SIBAT and TONIBUNG to build renewable energy micro-grids with remote indigenous communities in Southeast Asia. In recent years we have collaborated to design an open source Electronic Load Controller (ELC) that maintains micro-hydro system parameters whilst demand changes throughout the day - minimizing power outages during off-peak hours.

Now we are building on this successful collaboration. Together we are designing technology that will decrease power outages during peak-use hours and allow excess energy (generated in off-peak hours) to be put to productive use.

Recent Updates

We are happy to share that we have now completed phase one. In this first phase our partners each identified a local community which is currently using a mini-grid that is experiencing service problems. They conducted energy use surveys with community members in order to learn more about both their current use and their aspirations. Additionally, technical staff conducted detailed technical evaluations of the systems in these communities.

Meanwhile, in the lab we have worked collaboratively to develop a demand side load management strategy. This strategy specifies what technologies will be used, and explains the process through which loads will be prioritized and de-prioritized as electricity demand increases and decreases throughout the day.

Read more about how our three organizations are working together to meet this challenge in our recent blog:

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals: Bringing Global Goals to the Last Mile

Together with local in-country partners, Green Empowerment brings sustainable development to the last mile. The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 Partnership for Goals strengthens the means of implementation and revitalizes the global partnership for sustainable development. As a U.S. based organization with access to resources, Green Empowerment considers it our duty to share these…

Frequently Asked Questions

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Partner Highlight: SIBAT

For over 30 years SIBAT has worked with indigenous communities in the Philippines to build micro-hydroelectric systems (MHP or Micro-Hydro-Powerplants). We have partnered with SIBAT for over a decade and they are one of our key collaborators in the Smart Grids for Small Grids.

Project Sponsors








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More about our sponsors

Efficiency for Access

Green Empowerment has received support from the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund. The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund is supported by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation. The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund aims to accelerate the availability, affordability, efficiency, and performance of a range of appliances that are particularly suited to rural developing country contexts and promote social inclusion. Since inception, the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund has supported 37 projects with over £5 million in funding and facilitated a further £1.6 million to 11 electric cooking projects with funding from UK aid. Energy Saving Trust manages the Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund. The Efficiency for Access Coalition is coordinated jointly by CLASP and the UK’s Energy Saving Trust.

WISIONS of Sustainability

WISIONS of Sustainability is an initiative of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, organized with the support of the Swiss-based foundation ProEvolution to foster practical sustainability energy projects. Email: [email protected]


Kleinschmidt provides practical solutions for complex problems affecting energy, water, and the environment