Why the Power Grid Isn’t Everywhere: The Role of Grid Extension in Electricity Access

The webinar covers economic models for grid extension and challenges of supplying remote communities with grid power

Why is it that, after more than 100 years of effort, power lines have not made their way to every community on earth? Is it possible that certain communities will “leap frog” the power grid and instead use off-grid systems? This webinar describes the important and sometimes overlooked role of grid extension and grid enhancement in providing electricity access to remote communities. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of grid extension compared to using off-grid systems. The webinar covers economic models for grid extension, and the technical challenges of supplying remote communities with grid-connected power.

Join this webinar to learn:

  • the role of grid extension in achieving universal electricity access
  • the conditions that make off-grid systems preferable over grid extension
  • the basic considerations in distribution line design
  • how to develop a cost model for grid extension and use it compare electrification options



Dr. Henry Louie is an Associate Professor and Fr. Francis Wood Endowed Research Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University. His research areas include electricity access in developing communities, renewable energy and appropriate technology. He is the President and Co-founder of KiloWatts for Humanity, a non-profit organization providing electricity access and business opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Louie served as a Fulbright Scholar to Copperbelt University in Kitwe, Zambia. He is recognized as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE and is an Associate Editor of the journal Energy for Sustainable Development. He is the author of the book Off-Grid Electrical Systems in Developing Countries, published by SpringerNature.

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