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The economics of renewable energy expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Volume 1
 
Author:Deichmann, Uwe; Meisner, Craig; Murray, Siobhan; Wheeler, David; Country:Africa;
Date Stored:2010/01/27Document Date:2010/01/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Energy Production and Transportation; Transport Economics Policy & Planning; Carbon Policy and Trading; Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Power & Energy Conversion
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Energy and mining; Water, sanitation and flood protection; Transportation
Rel. Proj ID:1W-Options For Cleaner Energy In Devoptions For Cleaner Energy In -- -- P108622;Region:Africa
Report Number:WPS5193Sub Sectors:General water, sanitation and flood protection sector; Roads and highways; Power
Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5193TF No/Name:TF090682-OPTIONS FOR CLEANER ENERGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND OVERCOMING BARRI
Volume No:1  

Summary: 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. The authors 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. The results suggest that decentralized renewable energy will likely play an important role in expanding rural energy access. But 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 de-carbonize the fuel mix for centralized power generation as it expands in Africa.

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