This paper presents an assessment of alternative, long-term energy supply strategies for the Ethiopian power sector, during 2015–2045, using the MARKAL energy system model. This study also identifies alternative, sustainable energy supply options to meet Ethiopia's rising demand for energy, while also achieving the policy goals of universal electrification, zero greenhouse gas emissions, increased electricity exports, and improved energy security. In all scenarios, the results show a large potential for renewable energy technologies, such as hydropower, solar PV and wind. These technologies have implications for neighboring countries in the region and will also affect the agriculture sector in Ethiopia. Hydropower, for example, is a renewable energy source that can contribute to rural electrification, while also providing water to support irrigation expansion. An alternative policy scenario prioritizing renewable energy technologies reduces dependence on fossil fuel completely at minimal cost, while providing long-term environmental benefits. Expansion of electricity access to the entire population entails large investments in power generation capacity as well as substantial increases in the total system cost of energy production. Such a scenario would also increase the country's reliance on fossil fuels and geothermal energy sources. Most alternative policy options show higher investment costs will be required to achieve policy goals in the near term (with the exception of the export scenario). However, the analysis shows long-term benefits from investing in energy supply including sustainable energy system development, expansion of access to modern sources of energy, and the development of a low carbon society.
Developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, face large challenges to achieve universal electrification. Using the case of Ghana, this study explores the role that rice residues can play to help developing countries meet their electrification needs. In Ghana, Levelised Electricity Costs (LEC) of a grid-connected 5 MWe straw combustion plant ranged between 11.6 and 13.0 UScents/kWh, based on region of implementation. Rice straw combustion is a viable grid-connected option in all regions, as the bioenergy Feed-in-Tariff is 29.5 UScents/kWh in Ghana. Residue supply cost contributes significantly (49–54%) to LEC of rice straw combustion.
LEC of husk gasification mini-grids ranged between 5 and 53 UScents/kWh for rural populations between 3000 and 250 people. Husk gasification mini-grids can be a suitable electrification solution for these un-electrified populations, as its LEC is lower than the average LEC of grid extension diesel mini-grids and off-grid solar systems for remote communities in Ghana. Electricity produced from husk gasification has the potential to cater to 7% of the needs of un-electrified communities in Ghana. The methodology and analysis of this study can support policymakers of similar countries decide the economic feasibility of decentralised bioenergy solutions while forming national electrification plans.
Despite the historical priority to grid-based electrification in South Asia, two out of every five people in the region still live without access to electricity. Due to various limitations of conventional grid-based rural electrification, as brought out by a number of studies and reports, demand for alternative models such as renewable energy based off-grid and distributed generation solutions are gaining increasing attention globally. However, due to the absence of any study that could juxtapose these two modes in terms of their merits and demerits, it is difficult to infer on their relative superiority or inferiority. In view of that, this paper makes an attempt to connect the dots by carrying out an extensive review of the literature, to analyse the role of grid and off-grid options in facilitating rural electrification, and come out with a comparative assessment of their costs and impacts on the South Asian countries. The paper infers that instead of considering each of the modes of electrification in a standalone manner and perceiving them as mutually exclusive or competing with one another, as usually perceived in the policy sphere, off-grid electrification can actually be considered as a complementary mode and should ideally be integrated with grid expansion to serve the bigger cause of ensuring universal and sustainable rural electrification in South Asia.
Energy has become the main driver for development as industries grow, agricultural sectors become more modernized, economies boom and countries become wealthy. There are still vast majority of people living under the poverty line especially in the ECOWAS region. The purpose of this study is to explore how improvements in energy access can be a key driver in economic development and progress in the ECOWAS region. Data for the study was obtained from the database of the World Bank. A regression analysis was carried out to establish the relationships between energy access and development indicators. The paper suggests the need for policy makers in the ECOWAS region to focus on targets, such as household access, consumption of electricity, and ease of use instead on supply targets that focus merely on physical coverage. A case on how Ghana is improving energy access is presented.