A Study of Remote Area Internet Access with Embedded Power Generation

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Virginia Tech

This study presents a methodology and the necessary analytical tools to evaluate the alternatives to provide Internet access with embedded power generation in remote areas. The objective is to provide a screening tool for policy makers to analyze possible telecom and power alternatives. Results from the study demonstrate the technical alternatives to providing sustainable Internet and power access. The dissertation investigates innovative telecom technologies currently available on the market, and develops a model that generates a Telecom-and-Internet access map of a region or a small country. The map illustrates the combination of technologies and their locations that can provide wide-area Internet access to cover a majority of the population at the least cost. The model then looks at the design of a small-scale power system for a remote location where grid power is unavailable or unreliable. The methodology takes into account locally available energy resources, technical and economic parameters of each power generating technology, and the trade-off among investment costs, environmental costs and system robustness. Lastly, a computer simulation is conducted to verify that the power system design has the ability to meet the demand at the level of required reliability.

A remote area of a developing country (Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts - Bangladesh) is selected as a case study. Several scenarios are simulated in order to explore the possibility of extending the reach of the Internet and electric power to the remote area, and to conceptualize pilot projects as building blocks to build a countrywide infrastructure. Since the selected area is one of the least developed and most difficult to access in Bangladesh, demonstrating that the Internet and local power access can be provided to this area can serve as a model for similar places around the world.

Internet access, Optimization, distributed generation, local power supply