EADP Discussion Paper 2018 - 01:
Simulating the potential of swarm grids for pre-electrified communities - A case study from Yemen
Swarm grids are an emerging approach for electrication in the Global South that in- terconnects individual household generation and storage to a small electricity network for making full use of existing generation capacities. Using a simulation tool for demand, weather, and power ows, we analyse the potential of an AC swarm grid for a large pre- electried village in rural Yemen. Service quality and nancial indicators are compared to the cases of individual supply and a centralised micro grid. While the swarm grid would, in fact, improve supply security from currently 12.4 % (Tier 2) to 81.7 % (Tier 3) at lower levelised costs, it would be inferior to the micro grid in both service (Tier 4) and costs. This is mainly driven by the large pre-installed fossil-fuel generator and storage capacities in our case study. However, this situation may be representative for other relevant locations. Under these conditions, a swarm grid poses the danger to create (possibly-undesired) incentives to invest in diesel generators, and it may fail to support prosumerism eectively. Nevertheless, the swarm's evolutionary nature with the possibility for staggered investments (e.g. for smaller yet complementary groups of consumers) poses a central advantage over micro grids in the short-term alleviation of energy poverty.
Resource curse contagion in the case of Yemen
This study analyses the economic developments in Yemen from the 1970s to today in the context of the Resource curse hypothesis. After a brief survey of the resource curse literature, using empirical data, historical accounts, and political (economic) analyses, I confirm that post-reunification Yemen suffers from an intense oil curse. The curse is evidenced by low genuine savings rates, oil-dependency, a stagnating economy, and institutional failure. However, this study finds that the institutional failure which caused this is itself a product of the resource-curse-like developments following migrant worker remittances from Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover, the current instability in Yemen has its origins in rent-seeking defections in the corrupt governing patronage network due to sudden anticipations of oil exhaustion. The analysis suggests that worker migration is able to transmit resource curse symptoms to other economies, which makes them also more vulnerable to future resource curse triggers, and that declining resource reserves increase political instability of countries with strong patronage networks.