The drivers of the sustainable performance of renewable energy-based mini-grids

Bharat Poudel, Kevin Parton, Mark Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Renewable energy-based mini-grids have become increasingly popular over the last two decades. They have become crucial for increasing electricity access in developing countries, particularly in more remote locations. However, while access to such services can significantly contribute to socio-economic development, the functionality of mini-grid schemes is often poor. Many attributes of off-grid energy projects that contribute to sustainability have been considered within the literature. However, there has been minimal integration of these attributes across the different aspects of sustainability. Furthermore, the interaction between the sustainability dimensions, and the relative importance of these project attributes driving the sustainable performance of such mini-grids have been under-discussed. In this paper we use Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) and analyse a quantitative dataset obtained from a survey of 175 micro-hydro projects. A theoretical framework of attributes that contribute to the sustainable performance of mini-grid projects is presented, and the empirical analysis provides evidence supporting 14 hypothesised relationships between 10 project attributes and five sustainability dimensions. The results provide insight into how remote mini-grid projects, with stability of power supply and demand, can achieve a self-reinforcing economic cycle in the village, and thus, maintain economically and environmentally sustainable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1217
Number of pages12
JournalRenewable Energy
Early online date16 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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