Assessing the Feasibility of integrating SITI MINI HYDROS onto the main Grid.
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Siti 1 (6.2 MW) and Siti 2 (16.5 MW) are off grid hydro power plants (HPPs) situated along a Kwen-Bukwo-Suam UEDCL line, which is along the Mbale-Kumi 33kV Kapchorwa T-Off network in Bukwo District in Eastern Uganda. The grid network in Kapchorwa region currently experiences poor voltage regulation exceeding the allowable ±10%. However, evacuation of the plants on the distribution network would create an impact on the distribution network due to associated benefits which include; improved voltage profile, improved power quality and reliability among others, necessary for financial sustainability of the power sector. The purpose of this research is to assess the feasibility of integrating siti mini hydros onto the main grid and its benefits. To achieve the project objectives, the neighboring distribution network was studied to identify the possible options for interconnecting the above hydro power plants (HPPs). The grid simulation model for the 33kV network between Tororo main, Mbale, Kumi, Bulangira, Nangogera and Bubulo substations was developed using DIgSILENT power factory 15.1 version. Load flow analysis was performed on the network before interconnecting the HPPs. Loadings for different feeders were compared with those obtained from UMEME limited, to ensure accuracy. The bus voltages for different busses were determined before and after interconnection of the HPPs at different points on the network. Grid losses and feeder loadings were also determined for the different interconnection options and a cost benefit analysis made to assess the different options. Interconnection of the HPPs at Mbale substation yielded stable bus voltages at all buses with the lowest payback period. However, an interconnection at Mbale substation in an island mode had the lowest line losses, it was unable to evacuate the whole of 22.7 MW onto the distribution network. In conclusion, an interconnection of HPPs at Mbale substation provided stable and reliable power and reduced on feeder loadings thus improved power quality and reliability to the final consumer and improved security of supply as well was positively impacting the financial status of the energy sector in Uganda.