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Grid Interconnection of Mini-Grids

18 July 2018

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, hosted this webinar on mini-grids and interconnection to highlight the challenges and possible options for mini-grids after the main grid arrives. Participants learned about various country-specific case studies from Asia and Africa, and panelists discussed the potential requirements—policy, technical, and commercial—needed to achieve a relatively seamless interconnection of mini-grids with the main grid.


Ruchi Soni is Manager of Energy Access at the UN Foundation, where she oversees the Energy Access Practitioner Network and the Foundation’s involvement in the Mini-Grids Partnership. She worked for the World Bank for nine years, where she was responsible for the design and scaling-up of commercially viable and innovative business models for electricity access. More recently, she was the program manager at wPOWER, a U.S. Department of State initiative, where she directed program development, donor management and communication for wPOWER Hub’s impact. She has been involved in designing and implementing national-level energy programs in Asia, Latin America and Africa.


Chris Greacen works on policy and hands-on implementation of renewable energy projects from the village to the national level. As co-director of the nonprofit organization Palang Thai, he helped draft Thailand’s policies on very small power producers and conducted studies in support of the country’s feed-in tariff program. He cofounded the Border Green Energy Team in Western Thailand, where he helped rural communities build more than a dozen micro-hydropower projects. As a World Bank consultant, he helped the Tanzanian Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority develop Tanzania’s small power producer regulatory framework. As a consultant to the World Bank, GIZ and the Asian Development Bank, he is helping the government of Myanmar develop and implement the off-grid component of its national electrification program and develop a regulatory framework for mini-grids and small power producers. He has worked on renewable energy mini-grid projects in Cambodia, India, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Micronesia, Thailand, Vanuatu and Native American reservations in the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California at Berkeley, where he wrote his dissertation on engineering, politics and common property resource aspects of micro-hydropower in rural Thailand.

Dipti Vaghela, who was raised in the Mississippi Delta, Dipti holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.S. in Environment Studies from San Jose State University. Inspired by her family’s roots in rural India, Dipti focuses on sustainability of decentralized renewable energy solutions for rural electrification. Since 2003, her parallel roles as researcher, practitioner and facilitator have contributed to synergizing communities, local entrepreneurs, field-based NGOs, policy makers and funding agencies in implementing bottom-up, learning-process approaches to community-based energy initiatives in rural south and southeast Asia. In 2012 she co-founded the Hydro Empowerment Network (HPNET), a knowledge exchange platform for local practitioners to advance policy, technology and socio-environmental aspects of micro/mini hydropower. In 2014 and 2015, she helped the Renewable Energy Association of Myanmar (REAM) conduct practice-to-policy exchanges that promote scaled efforts for renewable energy mini-grids in Myanmar. Dipti was a 2016–2017 Fulbright Public Policy Fellow placed in Myanmar to support REAM’s efforts to accelerate the National Electrification Plan with sustainable integration of renewable energy mini-grids. She currently facilitates and manages the Hydro Empowerment Network of South and Southeast Asia, while also freelancing to advance and scale Myanmar’s local manufacturer-developers of micro/mini hydro and advanced biomass gasifiers.

Sam Slaughter is cofounder and CEO of PowerGen Renewable Energy, a micro-grid builder, developer and operator based in Kenya and Tanzania. Over the past seven years, PowerGen has installed several hundred renewable power systems throughout seven East African countries, including over 50 micro-grids. Prior to PowerGen, Sam’s work experience included time with UBS Investment Bank, VCharge Energy and Harvard University’s Trustman Fellowship. Sam is a graduate of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Materials Engineering.