Thanks for the comment. We have three types of partners that we're always on the lookout for: - Community-based organizations focused on development issues within their specific community - Minigrid project developers - Software developers
For the first two, we're currently focused in Southeast Asia and working through the Hydro Empowerment Network. We are also exploring partnerships in India and East Africa. We're looking for community-based organizations with an interest in building local capacity for resource and energy management.
For software development, this is something we've been relying on from a few different small firms, although we'd really like to develop more in-house capacity for this. Financial resources are our main constraint here.
Thanks again for the question. Looking forward to hearing the outcome of the next stage.
Thank you for the feedback. We are responding to comments here and also updating our proposal text.
(1) On viability and how the Minigrid Game can lead to concrete next steps:
The Minigrid Game is designed to solve critical management issues that often undermine long-term financial and operational viability for a community minigrid. Examples could include: - appropriate and affordable system sizing - tariff structure and rates (post-paid, pre-paid, etc.) - demand-side management mechanisms (warnings, curtailment, penalties, incentives) Outside developers can usually only assume the most appropriate solutions for these and other challenges because they have limited means to communicate and collaborate with the community on technically complex topics. The Minigrid Game provides an experience to explore very specific topics that will deliver concrete design options. For example, the community may find that their expectations for monthly payments is too low to cover their originally intended use of electricity for lights, phone chargers, radios and TVs. Instead, they realize that system must include some productive uses (e.g., small power tools) that will generate enough income to pay a higher tariff. The system design then changes, based on community request, to incorporate these additional loads. As another example, the community may recognize the impact that power theft has on system reliability and financial viability and they then determine their own enforcement or corrective measures to ensure this is not a common practice.
One reviewer asks about the impact of the game on minigrid procurement. Outcomes from a participatory planning process with the Minigrid Game could impact the following procurement decisions (as examples): - system capacity (e.g., number of solar panels) - electricity metering (type and functionality) - distribution system (e.g., single vs 3-phase) - energy efficient appliances (e.g., LED lights)
We are considering additional direct links with minigrid design and procurement in the future. While the Minigrid Game is currently stand-alone software, we have had initial discussions with a leading provider of microgrid design software about creating an interface between the two platforms. The Minigrid Game is not intended for the detailed engineering design of a minigrid, but as a platform for collaborative decision-making on minigrid management and high-level design. These decisions inform the engineering design, which could eventually be facilitated with a direct interface to engineering design software.
(2) User-centered design in our growth strategy:
User-centered design is at the heart of the Minigrid Game concept. By enabling users to collaboratively design a minigrid, we not only produce a better design, but also empower the community to participate or lead in minigrid management and operations.
We are also creating a community of practitioners who will use the Minigrid Game for minigrid project development and develop their own experiences and knowledge on how best to engage communities. We are currently working with HPNET (Hydro Empowerment Network) to disseminate the game and eventually share best-practices on its use. (See our User Experience Map).
We hope this addresses the Review Team's comments. Looking forward to further discussions!