By interviewing 300 refugees and using publicly available traditional and Earth observation data, the scientists estimated a total electricity demand of 154 GWh/year. This figure includes lighting, air circulation, and phone charging for 1.15 million households and the estimated demand of almost 59,000 microbusinesses and around 7,000 institutional loads. To put these numbers in perspective, a high-income country with a similar population would consume around 150 times more electricity.
The analyses shows that it is feasible to meet the needs by deploying fully renewable mini-grids in the almost 300 refugee settlements. Mini-grids are electric power generators and distribution systems that provide energy for remote settlements such as refugee camps.
Outside the house, access to electricity is also associated with improved women’s safety, health care and education. Moreover, a mini-grid also provides income-generation opportunities for the refugees and their host communities, by facilitating informal micro-businesses such as cooled-beverages vendors, phone charging spots, and hair-dressing salons.