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Bridging the electrification gap in the sub-Saharan Africa
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3449-2253
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4589-7045
University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, CT, South Africa.
2012 (English)In: World Renewable Energy Forum, WREF 2012, 2012, p. 4426-4433Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Studies have shown that Africa has enough resources to meet the continent's energy need and beyond. Statistics has it that only about 3.5% of world oil produced is consumed in the continent, whilst at the same time the continent contributes about 12.5% of the total world oil production. Africa also has capabilities for hydro, solar, geothennal. and biomass energy etc. Despite all these, Africa is still lying prostrate in meeting the energy need of its bourgeoning population. Many papers in the power literature have proffered solutions using fossil based energy technology as a panacea for meeting the short fall; others used renewable energy based solutions, but there has been a protracted history of failures. The adduced reasons borders on ineffective policies and business models. This paper therefore investigates the various renewable technologies as well as fossil based energy systems with the interest of identifying reasons for their failures in the past. The paper also reports on various policies on renewable energy in Africa that militates against energy sector development. Taking a holistic view of the cotemporary Africa situation in terms of its energy needs, it is the believe of the authors that, to overcome the energy challenges in Africa, an optimal response strategy that combines grid based and decentralized off-grid small scale renewable systems should be adopted. To this extent, our solution will not only augment with the existing solutions in providing the much needed electricity to the rural/peripheral urban dwellers in Africa, but also alleviate the poverty level through creation of jobs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. p. 4426-4433
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-17642ISBN: 9781622760923 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-17642DiVA, id: diva2:587644
Conference
World Renewable Energy Forum, WREF 2012, Including World Renewable Energy Congress XII and Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) Annual Conference, 13 May 2012 through 17 May 2012, Denver, CO
Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2017-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sustainability and development impacts of off-grid electrification in developing countries: An assessment of South Africa's rural electrification program
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability and development impacts of off-grid electrification in developing countries: An assessment of South Africa's rural electrification program
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Hållbarhet och utvecklingseffekter av off-grid elektrifiering i utvecklingsländer : En bedömning av Sydafrikas elektrifiering av landsbygden programmet
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have shown that provision of sustainable electricity supply to rural households is essential to bring development to off-grid populations. For this reason, most developing countries put large efforts into rural electrification programs to stimulate development and reduce poverty. However, to be sustainable these programs need to recover costs, which poses a challenge to remote low income populations.  This often forces governments and other institutions involved in rural electrification to subsidize the electricity production. It also affects the choice of technology and places a barrier on the level of energy provided in line with the ability to pay for services. As a result of this, most programs have failed to achieve the desired objectives, as the technologies used often do not support income generating activities that could increase the payment capabilities of the beneficiaries and contribute to development.

This thesis is focused on the rural electrification program of South Africa, the country in sub-Saharan Africa that has the highest access to electricity. It investigates the success elements that influence the sustainability of rural electrification programs and their contributions to socio-economic development. This was achieved by evaluating the South African program that provides solar home systems to off-grid communities, and a hybrid solar-wind mini-grid project in South Africa. The study also draw lessons from other rural electrification programs in neighbouring countries, i.e. an evaluation of a hybrid solar-diesel mini-grid system in Namibia, and a review of two systems, a hybrid solar-biomass mini-grid project in Botswana and a hydro mini-grid program in Lesotho. The study revealed that hydro based hybrid mini-grid systems provide the most cost effective way of bringing energy services to rural settlements. Regardless of technology, successful programs depend on adequate support from the government, implementation of a progressive tariff system that allows the high consuming high income earners and businesses, to cross subsidize the low consuming , low income users. It shows that it is more likely for rural electrification programs to survive if the design considers the existing businesses, population growth and the corresponding load increase. The thesis further shows that provision of sufficient energy to induce income generating activities is essential to decrease the need for subsidies and to ensure the sustainability of programs. In addition, availability of spare parts and a capable management team is essential for the successful operations and maintenance of these systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2016. p. 65
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 198
Keywords
Off-grid electrification, sustainability, solar home system, hybrid mini-grid, renewable energy, technical challenges
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-30762 (URN)978-91-7485-252-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-03-04, Gamma, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-01-19 Created: 2016-01-19 Last updated: 2016-02-01Bibliographically approved

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Azimoh, Chukwuma LeonardWallin, Fredrik

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Citation style
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