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The economics of renewable energy expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Deichmann, Uwe
  • Meisner, Craig
  • Murray, Siobhan
  • Wheeler, David

Abstract

Accelerating development in Sub-Saharan Africa will require massive expansion of access to electricity--currently reaching only about one third of households. This paper explores how essential economic development might be reconciled with the need to keep carbon emissions in check. We develop a geographically explicit framework and use spatial modeling and cost estimates from recent engineering studies to determine where stand-alone renewable energy generation is a cost effective alternative to centralized grid supply. Our results suggest that decentralized renewable energy will likely play an important role in expanding rural energy access. However, it will be the lowest cost option for a minority of households in Africa, even when likely cost reductions over the next 20 years are considered. Decentralized renewables are competitive mostly in remote and rural areas, while grid connected supply dominates denser areas where the majority of households reside. These findings underscore the need to decarbonize the fuel mix for centralized power generation as it expands in Africa.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 215-227

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:1:p:215-227

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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Keywords: Energy supply modeling Africa Geographic analysis;

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References

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  1. Kebede, Ellene & Kagochi, John & Jolly, Curtis M., 2010. "Energy consumption and economic development in Sub-Sahara Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 532-537, May.
  2. Kevin Ummel & David Wheeler, 2008. "Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East," Working Papers 156, Center for Global Development.
  3. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  4. Parshall, Lily & Pillai, Dana & Mohan, Shashank & Sanoh, Aly & Modi, Vijay, 2009. "National electricity planning in settings with low pre-existing grid coverage: Development of a spatial model and case study of Kenya," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2395-2410, June.
  5. Marti­nez, Daniel M. & Ebenhack, Ben W., 2008. "Understanding the role of energy consumption in human development through the use of saturation phenomena," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1430-1435, April.
  6. Neij, Lena, 2008. "Cost development of future technologies for power generation--A study based on experience curves and complementary bottom-up assessments," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2200-2211, June.
  7. Klose, Andreas & Drexl, Andreas, 2005. "Facility location models for distribution system design," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 162(1), pages 4-29, April.
  8. Buys, Piet & Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Ton-That, Thao & Wheeler, David, 2007. "Country stakes in climate change negotiations : two dimensions of vulnerability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4300, The World Bank.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ian Rowlands, 2011. "Ancillary impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation options in Africa’s least developed countries," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(7), pages 749-773, October.
  2. Collier, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages S75-S84.
  3. Giorgia Giovannetti & Elisa Ticci, 2013. "Biofuel Development and Large-Scale Land Deals in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers - Economics wp2013_27.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  4. Janosch Ondraczek, 2013. "Are we there yet? Improving solar PV economics and power planning in developing countries: The case of Kenya," Working Papers FNU-200, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.
  5. Ian Rowlands, 2011. "Co-impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation in Africa’s least developed countries: the evidence base and research needs," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 37575, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Kemausuor, Francis & Obeng, George Yaw & Brew-Hammond, Abeeku & Duker, Alfred, 2011. "A review of trends, policies and plans for increasing energy access in Ghana," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 5143-5154.
  7. Matthew Cole & Robert Elliott & Eric Strobl, 2014. "Climate Change, Hydro-dependency and the African Dam Boom," Discussion Papers 14-03, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  8. World Bank, 2012. "Addressing the Electricity Access Gap," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12530, The World Bank.
  9. Morgan Bazilian & Patrick Nussbaumer & Hans-Holger Rogner & Abeeku Brew-Hammond & Vivien Foster & Shonali Pachauri & Eric Williams & Mark Howells & Philippe Niyongabo & Lawrence Musaba & Brian Ó Gall, 2011. "Energy Access Scenarios to 2030 for the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2011.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Abdul-Salam, Yakubu & Phimister, Euan, 2014. "Modelling the Impact of Market Imperfections on Farm Household Investment in Stand-Alone Solar PV," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France 169742, Agricultural Economics Society.
  11. Ian H. Rowlands, 2011. "Co-impacts of energy-related climate change mitigation in Africa’s least developed countries: the evidence base and research needs," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 39, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  12. Rosnes, Orvika & Vennemo, Haakon, 2012. "The cost of providing electricity to Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1318-1328.
  13. Maes, Wouter H. & Verbist, Bruno, 2012. "Increasing the sustainability of household cooking in developing countries: Policy implications," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 4204-4221.

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