Voluntary demand participation (VDP) for security of essential energy activities in remote communities with case study in Maldives

Miraz Fulhu, Muaviyath Mohamed, Susan Krumdieck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


The government of the Maldives has committed to sustainable energy, and yet the reality is that remote communities rely on diesel power generation. Fuel supply reliability is a constant problem. Renewable energy could reduce reliance on fuel, but cost and operational complexity are barriers to development. This paper describes the power supply system and end uses for the village island, Fenfushi, Maldives. Hybrid microgrid engineering design analysis using HOMER demonstrates the prohibitive cost of wind and solar systems to meet the normal village load profile. The paper explores the novel idea of differentiating the loads by importance, and asking end users to nominate their voluntary demand participation (VDP) by adjusting their activities to reduce loads when requested. The VDP concept was modeled as deferrable load in HOMER and a hybrid renewable energy system optimization provided lower cost power than the diesel-only microgrid with <10% excess renewable generation. The authors worked with end users and the local microgrid operator to develop a VDP operational strategy and signal to customers. The VDP concept includes a simple method for the powerhouse operator to monitor fuel use, calculate fuel use till next delivery and a benchmark for signaling VDP temporary load reduction from the end-users. A trial of the VDP signal to end users was carried out. The results demonstrate a key concept of energy transition: 100% renewable energy cannot reasonably substitute for fossil fuel supply to satisfy the habituated demand developed when fossil fuel was abundant and low cost. However, essential needs can be met with reasonable renewable energy investment if demand is voluntarily adjusted to match supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Early online date30 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Demand response
  • Demand side management
  • Energy transition
  • Microgrids
  • Remote communities
  • Sustainable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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