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Comparative study of economic viability of rural electrification using renewableenergy resources versus diesel generator option in Saudi Arabia
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The objective of this paper is to assess the economic viability of Saudi Arabia's renewable energy resources in electricityproduction in the rural and remote areas as against the use of diesel generators (DG). The methodologyemployed is to pick an existing isolated DG electric station for a rural community and assess thelevelized cost of energy (LCOE) generated for incremental generation by adding either DG, wind electric conversion system(WECS), or solar Photo Voltaic (PV) electric system. Cost figures are derived from current technology price indices andconsultancies studies as contained in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory cost report of November 2012. The existingpower station of Addfa in the Southern region is analyzed based on the requirement to increase itscurrent capacity to caterfor surrounding smaller communities. An annual extra energy requirement of 4 GWh is to be met by scenarios ofusing DG, WECS, PV or ahybrid system. Two ownership structures are considered namely a public utility that pays no tax anda private independent power producer (IPP) that pays tax. Both the constant and current LCOE generated are determined for eachownership structure. The results indicate that the WECS is the first investment choice with aconstant LCOE of $0.0922/kWh and $0.1090/kWh for the public utility and the IPP, respectively. TheDG is the second choice with LCOE of $0.1082/kWh and $0.1175/kWh, the third is a hybrid DG plus WECSwith LCOE of $0.1102/kWh and $0.1234/kWh for each ownership structure, respectively. Finally, thePV electric system ranksfourth with LCOE of $0.2791/kWh and $0.3279/kWh, respectively. The results of sensitivity analysisshow that these values of LCOE are more sensitive to the initial capital cost and less sensitive tothe operation and management costs.
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