un-energy africa pub

un-energy africa pub
A UN collaboration mechanism and
UN sub-cluster on energy in
support of NEPAD
Energy for Sustainable Development:
Policy Options for Africa
UN-ENERGY/Africa publication to CSD15
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, this page
and at the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
List of Acronyms
UN-Energy/Africa: Brief Presentation
Mandate of UN-Energy/Africa
The creation of UN-Energy/Africa
Highlights on some activities implemented and in the process of implementation
Chapter 1: Regulation and Policy Initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
Electricity supply: development and change
Government policy and regulation of energy services
Renewable energy
Energy efficiency
Policy implications
Chapter 2: Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for
Urban Settlements of the Developing World
United Nations mandates for work in energy
Historical patterns of energy production and consumption in cities
The structure of urban energy use
Linking energy with water and sanitation service provision
Development constraints created by urban energy consumption patterns
Sustainable urban transport/air quality/land use
Issues and options to meet the urban environmental challenge
Cities and climate change
Sustainable energy technologies appropriate for urban applications
Strategies for achieving reform in urban energy sectors: some best practices
Conclusions and policy guidelines
Chapter 3: Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability
of the Sector
Overview of power sector reform in Africa
Key findings and lessons learnt
Policy guidelines for sustainability of the power sector
Chapter 4: Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human
Development: Lessons learned from the East African Community and the
Economic Community of West African States
Overview of access to energy in EAC and ECOWAS regions
Integrating access to energy into development strategies
Building large scale regional energy infrastructure
UNDP: Capacity development for expanding energy access in Africa
Conclusion: Investing in energy for development
Chapter 5: Investment in Electricity for Development
Why investment in the electricity sector is a priority
Investment costs
Financing electricity access
Policies to support investment in the electricity sector
Chapter 6: Fostering Medium and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for
Nuclear Energy in Africa
Energy and sustainable development
IAEA capacity-building for energy system analysis
National and regional aspects of energy planning
Current IAEA support for energy system analysis in Africa
Prospects for nuclear energy in Africa
Additional IAEA publications on infrastructure
The supply and use of energy have never been static subjects. Scientifically,
technologies change; some are entirely new and others result in improved function
and efficiency. Economically, the primary resource base changes, with some
resources being indigenous and therefore relatively secure, while other resources
are imported with significantly less security. Structurally, supply organizations
vary, ranging from nationalized utilities to privately owned companies.
Environmentally, all energy processes have impacts; some are heavily polluting,
some cause effectively no pollution, and most have less polluting alternatives. The
United Nations is concerned with all these aspects of energy supply and use, as its agencies seek to encourage responsible sustainable development and the reduction of poverty. These aims are not new, but circumstances change; for instance, we now have to consider urgently the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.
This book reviews the activities of several UN and other agencies in the area of energy and sustainable
development in Africa. We are aware of the changing global scene and are concerned that our actions free
of historic impediments and conscious of new concepts. Thus, we are aware of the global trend towards
liberalized utility suppliers working within regulated frameworks. We appreciate the rapid improvements
in electronic communication, which are transforming the news media, education, business etc, and enabling
the emergence of new industrial processes, dependent on automated machinery and data acquisition. We
are waiting for increased development opportunities related to international carbon abatement and climate
change mitigation. The aim is to strengthen opportunities for reliable and affordable energy supply, both
to urban and rural populations. This is most likely to occur with clear strategies and regulated policy,
which will allow enterprising industrial and commercial firms to plan for innovation and sustainable
The various chapters of this book relate to the views and activities of different UN agencies and development banks co-operating within UNEA (UN-Energy/Africa). Each chapter therefore focuses on
different, but related, themes. In total, a broad spectrum of issues is addressed, including the need for an
effective commercial and industrial development policy, a favourable environment for energy end-users
and an appropriate regulatory framework, successful approaches to enhance energy access for economic
and human development, and structural changes in the context of sustainable development and economic
planning, as well as specific challenges for energy investment in the present global situation and the potential contribution of nuclear power in the energy sector.
Whatever its focus, each agency understands that energy is important, not as an end in itself, but rather
as a means to tackle the major developmental challenges that exist in Africa today. Our task is to be
positive and support development, with the expectation that employment and wealth income will increase
and that the resulting economic structures and products will be beneficial, both locally and nationally.
Having an international perspective, the UN sees the advantages of harmonized policies and methods,
which we hope will be accepted by individual countries. There are obvious advantages in such harmonization, which facilitates increased trade between countries, e.g. in electricity and gas, and in commonly
labelled and standardized goods and professional employment.
Regarding the scale and operation of technical development worldwide, there are two complementary
trends. The first is towards diversified and less-intensive industry, and the second is towards greatly
enhanced national and international communication. The former appears as a coalescing of what has been
called ‘appropriate technology’, with centralized large-scale production (as, for instance, with microgenerated and embedded electricity supply), while IT and networks, electronic control systems and
remote monitoring demonstrate the second trend. These technology trends are certainly transferable, for
they are already universal, although dissemination and scaling up need a coherent approach supported by
harmonized policies and strategies to address the challenges in strategic partnership. By recognizing these
trends, energy policy in Africa can avoid the mistakes made elsewhere and launch itself into a sustainable
This book is intended to explain the energy-related work of UN and other world agencies, with particular reference to Africa. We hope that you will enjoy it and be stimulated by it.
Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella,
Director General of UNIDO,
Chair of UN-Energy/Africa
In Africa, as around the world, energy issues have moved higher in the development agenda of policy-makers. This was mostly prompted by the recognition that
without energy most development objectives, including the Millennium
Development Goals, cannot be met. The current volatility of oil prices is also a
factor in the increasing attention paid to energy issues. In order to sustain the
encouraging overall growth of African economies of the recent past and also to
make substantial progress in overcoming the poverty challenge on the continent,
African nations would need to address various challenges in the energy sector. This
would require increasing access of the majority of Africa’s population to electricity. The continent would
also need to deal with the high usage of traditional biomass fuels to meet the energy needs for cooking
and heating of most Africans.
The improving economic trend in Africa also brings its own challenges. Indeed, experts estimate that,
unless stronger commitments are made by all concerned and effective policy measures are taken to reverse
the current trends, half of the population in sub-Saharan Africa will still be without electricity by year
2030, and the proportion of the population relying on traditional fuels for household energy needs will
remain highest compared to all world regions.
It is against this background that the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) adopted a
Plan that calls upon the international community, including the United Nations system, “to take joint
action and improve efforts to work together at all levels to improve access to reliable and affordable energy services for sustainable development sufficient to facilitate the achievement of the millennium
development goals (MDGs), including the goal of halving the proportion of people in poverty by 2015,
and as a means to generate other important services that mitigate poverty, bearing in mind that access to
energy facilitates the eradication of poverty”. The Plan also calls for “dealing effectively with energy problems in Africa through establishing and promoting programmes, partnerships and initiatives to support
Africa’s efforts to implement NEPAD objectives on energy”.
As there is no entity specifically established within the United Nations system to deal with energy issues
at the global level, and given that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has been
recognized as the appropriate framework for implementing WSSD outcomes, the UN agencies working
in Africa have agreed to set up an inter-agency coordination and collaborative mechanism, called UNEnergy/Africa, that would allow them coherence and synergy in their support to African Union’s (AU)
priority programme on energy, in particular the AU/NEPAD energy initiatives.
This publication on “Energy for Sustainable Development: Policy Options for Africa”, which builds on
experiences and lessons learned in implementing energy projects by some of the United Nations agencies
working within the framework of UN-Energy/Africa, is a commendable example of what the United
Nations system can achieve when it decides to pool resources and work together to deliver as one. In this
undertaking, entities of the UN system have benefited from the contribution of non-UN members of
UN-Energy/Africa, such as the NEPAD Secretariat and the African Union Commission.
The publication, which is to be launched at the fifteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD-15), will be made available to African policy-makers and the donor community. It
highlights policy options that could help address some of the energy challenges in Africa, some of which
are promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency development, addressing energy problems in urban
settlements, mitigating negative impacts of power sector reforms, linking energy planning and expanded
energy services, scaling-up access to energy services through a regional approach, and accelerating investment in the electricity sector in Africa.
I commend the participating institutions for taking the initiative to produce this book, which is recommended to all energy stakeholders, especially African policy-makers who have a primary responsibility for
improving the well-being of the African people.
Abdoulie Janneh
Executive Secretary
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
This milestone flagship publication of UN-Energy/Africa was made possible by the collective and concerted efforts of all UN agencies, programmes and non-UN organizations such as the AU and the
AU/NEPAD, members of UN-Energy/Africa.
Chapters were drafted under the leadership of UNIDO, UNDP, UN-Habitat, UNECA, the World Bank,
and the IAEA. Comments and contributions were received by most of the member organizations, including the AU/NEPAD.
Special thanks to the lead coordinators and authors of the chapters, including Mr. Minoru Takada,
Gregory Woodsworth, Laurent Coche of UNDP, Edgar Blaustein, consultant of UNDP; Najwa
Gadaheldam, Heinz Leuenberger of UNIDO, and John Twidell, consultant of UNIDO; Brian Williams,
and Sara Candiracci of UN-Habitat, A.I. Jalal, Alan McDonald, Farzana Naqvi and, Nestor Pieroni of the
IAEA, Vivay Iyer, and Kyran O’Sullivan of the World Bank; and Jacques Moulot, and Pancrace
Niyimbona of UNECA.
Great appreciations to Jacques Moulot of UNECA for providing coordination and editorial services, to
UNIDO, in particular Ms. Najwa Gadaheldam, for overall leadership, UNDP for offering to layout/print
the book and for hosting the launching ceremony at CSD-15, in New York.
Deepest appreciations to higher management of all agencies, programmes and organizations, in particular to Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UNECA Executive Secretary, and Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella Director General
of UNIDO for overall support and the drafting of the preface and foreword.
African Development Bank
African Energy Commission
African Union
Chief Executives Board for Coordination
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Committee on Sustainable Development
Eastern Africa Power Pool
Economic Community of Central African States
Economic Community of West African States
Energy Efficiency
European Union
Food and Agriculture Organization
Global Village Energy Partnership
Gigawatt hour
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Energy Agency
Independent Power Producer
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Millennium Development Goals
Million Ton Oil Equivalent
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
Non Governmental Organization
Official Development Assistance
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Pool Energétique d’Afrique Centrale
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
Research and Development
Renewable Energy
Regional Economic Communities
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership
Southern African Development Community
Southern Africa Power Pool
South Saharan Africa
Single Wire Earth Return
United Nations
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Development Programme
UNECA (or ECA) United nations Economic Commission of Africa
United Nations Programme for Habitat
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
West African Power Pool
World Bank
World Energy Council
World Summit on Sustainable Development
A Brief Presentation
Mandate of UN-Energy/Africa
In its resolution 57/2 of 16 September 2002, entitled “United Nations Declaration on the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development” (NEPAD), the General Assembly of the United Nations has
welcomed NEPAD as an African Union led, owned and managed initiative and has affirmed that international support for its implementation was essential.
Further, the UN General Assembly of 4 November 2002, brought to a close the United Nations New
Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) and urged the international community and the United Nations system to organize support for African countries in accordance with the principles, objectives and priorities of NEPAD (resolution 57/7).
An important component of the UN Secretary-General’s reform agenda is the need to achieve improved
coherence in the activities of the various UN agencies at the regional level. Building on the reform agenda launched by the Secretary-General in 1999, the ECOSOC in resolution 1998/46 urged the establishment of regional consultative meetings among UN agencies working in each region. The overall purpose
of these regional consultative meetings is to promote synergy and coordination among the agencies and
organizations of the UN system, so as to improve the collective response by the UN system in addressing
priority needs of each of the five regions.
In Africa, the coordinated support of UN agencies to the AU and AU/NEPAD is organized in a thematic
cluster arrangement. The Regional Consultation Meeting approves currently nine clusters, convened by
various UN agencies, bodies or programmes. The infrastructure cluster, composed of the 4 sub-clusters
deals with the issues of water (UN-Water/Africa), energy (UN-Energy/Africa), transport, and ICT. UNEnergy/Africa therefore serves as the sub-cluster on Energy.
The Creation of UN-Energy/Africa
Following the creation on 14-15 April 2004 in Rome of UN-Energy, African Energy Ministers gathered
in a meeting co-organized by UNEP, ECA and the African Union on 8 May 2004 in Nairobi, adopted a
recommendation for the creation of UN-Energy/Africa. UN-Energy/Africa should along the line of UNWater/Africa be a regional collaborative framework with the objective to promote more efficient, coherent and coordinated actions of UN and non-UN organizations working in Africa on the issues of
energy for development.
On 27 May 2004, responding to the recommendation of the African energy Ministers, five UN agencies
(UNECA, UNIDO, UNEP, UNDP, and UN-Habitat) gathered in the context of the operationalization
of the sub-cluster on energy in support of NEPAD, agreed to the creation of UN-Energy/Africa (UNEA).
It was suggested, following the model of UN Water/Africa, that UNEA would be a subsidiary of UNEnergy in order to insure a linkage between global and regional energy issues and will serve as the UNAgencies sub-cluster on energy in support of NEPAD. UN agencies requested UNIDO, UNEP and ECA
to assume the function of chair, vice-chair and secretary respectively for a period of two years.
The TOR of UN-Energy/Africa were drafted with due consideration to the one adopted by UN-Energy
and based on the considerations guiding the elaboration of inter-agency coordination/collaborative
arrangements approved by the High Level Committee on Programme (HLCP).
Activities of UN-Energy/Africa are based on an approved Programme of Work, which emanates from
priority areas identified by Agencies and Programmes and requests or needs transpiring from the
programmes of the AU Commission and the NEPAD energy initiatives.
Highlights on Some Activities Implemented and in the Process of Implementation
The work programme of UN-Energy/Africa includes the following specific activities that were implemented or are in the process of being implemented:
• Improving rural energy access and consumption
Unleashing Energy Access in Africa: Rural Energy Access Scale-Up Mechanism. The study seeks to promote
the mainstreaming of best practices in rural energy development in Africa, and the design and development of the Rural Energy Access Scale-Up Mechanism (REASUMA) with the ultimate objective to design
and assess the feasibility of a Rural Energy Development Facility.
• Policy and institutional reform
Study on Power Sector Reform in Africa: The Sustainable Development Division of ECA, in partnership
with UNEP, in the framework of UN Energy/Africa carried out an in-depth analysis of the economic,
social and environmental impacts of power sector reforms in Africa. The study titled “Making Africa’s
Power Sector Sustainable” also maps the way forward for making Africa’s power sector more sustainable
with regards to social and environmental objectives. It covered 14 countries in various depths, and was
completed in December 2005.
Policy Dialogue Stakeholders’ Forum: The findings of the above-mentioned study were presented during a
high-level multi-stakeholders policy dialogue forum, co-organized by ECA, UNEP and UNDESA. Highlevel decision makers and senior officials from power sector ministry/departments, regulatory bodies and
utilities from 19 countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho,
Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, the Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda,
Zambia and Zimbabwe), and representatives from 9 regional and international organizations (African
participated in the forum. The Forum adopted a policy summary on “Making the Africa’s Power Sector
Reform Sustainable”, and a “Policy statement on power sector reform in Africa” presented at CSD-14.
• Capacity development and investment
Micro/Mini-Hydropower development: The project aims at developing capacity in designing and managing
micro/mini hydropower plants and promoting investment in these systems in order to increase electricity access for rural people in sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty countries are to benefit directly from this initiative.
Capacity-building in Integrated Resource Planning (IRP): This activity was jointly implemented by the
IAEA and ECA, in December 2006. It aimed at training African energy planners from Regional
Economic Communities (RECs), Power Pool and river basin organizations on integrated resource and
energy planning in the energy sector. This training was based on the IAEA model MEAD. Fifteen people
participated in this training.
• Energy information dissemination and coordination
Development of a UN-Energy/Africa website linked to ECA UN Regional Consultation Clusters to
enhance e-discussions amongst UN agencies and pertinent non-UN organizations on energy issues.
• Advocacy actions
UN-Energy/Africa is to publish “Energy for Sustainable Development: Policy options for Africa” to serve as
a UNEA flagship input to CSD-15. The publication will comprise chapters written by various institutions members of UN-Energy/Africa, and should contain key policy guidelines.
• Support to AU-NEPAD and the African Union
UN-Energy/Africa finally plays an important advocacy role in support of NEPAD energy initiatives, and
aims at supporting the African Union in operationalizing the African Energy Ministerial Forum, an
important institutional tool for the mainstreaming of successful practices in energy sectors’ development.
Also, UN-Energy/Africa provides various technical supports to the African Union, and participates in the
development of the Africa’s Energy Vision 2030.
Over the last four decades, the gap between energy supply and demand in Africa has been growing.
Projections by experts in the field forecast that this gap will continue to grow, and the livelihood of more
Africans will continue to be critically impaired by energy poverty, that will seriously slow down the socioeconomic development of the continent. Energy has been supplied in insufficient quantity, at a cost, form
and quality that has limited its consumption by the majority of Africa’s population, making the continent
the lowest per capita consumer of modern energy of all regions of the world. The challenges are indeed
daunting, and more than ever, a concerted effort by all actors is required to achieve any significant
Most UN agencies and programmes have endeavoured to address some aspects of the African Energy
challenge in their work programmes. In this UN-Energy/Africa flagship book, key issues related to policy,
regulation, renewable energy development, energy access in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, regional
strategies for addressing energy poverty, power sector reforms, energy planning, and energy finance are
addressed by various UN agencies and programmes, with the objectives to highlight the main challenges
and provide some policy guidelines to accelerate energy supply and access in Africa.
In chapter one, UNIDO focuses on Commercial and Industrial policies and regulations that would
significantly increase the share of renewables and decentralize energy services in the supply of energy. It is
argued that market opportunities occur when governments devolve services and when modern technology is introduced. Such regulated policy allows enterprising industry and commerce to plan for innovation
and avoid mistakes made elsewhere. Within the broad compass of international policy for Sustainable
Development, the desire for economic growth and for widespread energy services has been joined by the
need to mitigate Climate Change; these three factors are driving the twin objectives of Renewable Energy
generation and Efficient Use of Energy. This process finds itself intertwined with the Liberalization and
the Privatization of energy supply, whereby governments use law for the Regulation of such services to the
public. This chapter reviews this situation, especially for industrial participation in electricity supply and
use in sub-Saharan Africa. It is concluded that present trends strengthen the opportunity for reliable and
affordable energy supply to both urban and rural populations, whilst providing market opportunities for
national industry and commerce.
In chapter two, UN-Habitat addresses the linkages between environment, energy and cities. It is argued
that most of the commercial and non-commercial energy produced today is used in and for cities, and a
substantial percentage of it is used by the household sector. In the chapter, it is pointed out that increasing the efficiency of energy use to reduce its polluting effects and to promote the use of renewable energies must be a priority in any action taken to protect the urban environment. This will require major
policy changes to re-orient the current focus on energy supply to an end-use oriented approach, and thus
contribute to the sustainable human settlements development goals. The chapter contends that for most
developing country cities, capacity-building for appropriate urban energy management will be a longterm and dynamic process, refining and strengthening existing strategies, skills and capabilities. External
assistance will be crucial in building the necessary capacity to plan and implement environmental strategies at local level. Principal areas where such support should be considered are: (a) environmental research
and policy analysis needed to formulate urban environmental strategies and action plans at local level; (b)
policy reform, institutional development and resource mobilization; and (c) financial support for improving efficiency of urban energy services, and for the promotion of renewable energy technologies.
In Chapter three, the UNECA, based on a study jointly commissioned with UNEP, revisits the achievements of power sector reforms initiatives in Africa. The chapter recalls that since more than a decade and
half, a number of African countries have embarked on implementing Power Sector Reform (PSR) programmes in a bid to address the deficiencies in the management and operations of their power utilities so
as to improve technical and financial performance and extend electricity services. The chapter highlights
that preliminary results of these reforms indicate that, while they helped achieve some institutional
efficiency, the overall impact on the sector leaves a lot to be desired. These are due to, inter alia, the low
interest in the private sector to improve electricity access levels as well as their unwillingness to commit
the levels of investment needed to increase generation capacity and improve transmission. Furthermore,
reforms often entailed negative social and environment implications, such as reduced access to electricity
for low-income households due to tariff increases, limited electricity coverage due to slowdown of rural
electrification programmes, reduced employment due to labour shedding, and negative environmental
impacts. The chapter suggests policy guidelines to increase supply, improve the overall performance of the
sector, address the specific needs of the poor, and maintain sound environmental standards.
In Chapter four, UNDP provides a unique assessment of the Role of Regional Economic Communities
in Scaling-up Access to Modern Energy Services to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
and reviews recent development to mainstream energy issues in regional development priorities. The
chapter examines the experience of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), especially the
ECOWAS and the EAC, as the coordinating regional institutional framework through which countries
develop and adopt policies and strategies to scale-up access to modern energy services to meet the MDGs.
Building on countries’ national commitments to meeting the MDGs, several RECs have recently widened
their strategies and action plans to include these targets and set up new objectives to significantly increase
access to modern energy services, as reflected in recently adopted regional energy access policies and
strategies by EAC, ECOWAS, and CEMAC. These documents and the framework investment plans have
been adopted by the heads of state and government of the regional communities and are being
implemented by member countries.
In Chapter five, the World Bank discusses the challenges and key requirements for accelerating investments in the grid and off-grid electricity sector in Africa. The chapter highlights the investment requirements and shortfall, provides rough estimates of the investment levels involved, and summarizes the main
existing sources of investment in the sector. The chapter then provides some policy guidelines that could
assist government create environments conducive for accelerating investments, and discusses the role of
bilateral and multilateral agencies in this regard. In each section, challenges and opportunities are
In Chapter six, the IAEA discusses the needs for efficient energy system analysis conducive for good
energy planning in Africa. It is contended that expanding access to clean and affordable energy services
requires careful planning. The role of the Agency in developing and transferring planning models and
data, training local experts, analyzing national options, and assisting to establish continuing local
planning expertise is highlighted. The chapter summarizes, first, the IAEA’s energy system analysis and
planning tools that are available to member States. Second, it highlights current energy system analysis
and planning activities involving member States in Africa. Third, it reviews prospects for nuclear power
in Africa and additional IAEA assistance of interest to those member States that choose to explore the possibility of beginning a nuclear power programme.
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
Chapter 1
Regulation and Policy initiatives
for Sustainable Energy
in sub-Saharan Africa
United Nations Industrial Development Organization1
1. Introduction
Environmental change and sustainable development present a challenge for all nations. Developed countries have to dismantle and change historic practice before progressing, whereas developing countries can
move directly to new technology and new institutional frameworks. This chapter seeks to identify trends
in energy supply and use that both improve sustainability and provide opportunities for commerce and
industry. Worldwide experience is studied for application in sub-Saharan Africa (abbreviated as ‘Africa’
henceforward). Such application is central to UNIDO’s programmes in energy and environment. These
programmes consider both the supply and the demand sides, by the provision of energy for industry, use
of renewable energy resources and improved industrial energy end-use efficiency. Key factors are de-linking intensity of energy use from economic growth and reducing environmental damage from energy
supply and use
The background for this chapter is “Sustainable Energy Regulation and Policy-making for Africa”
(UNIDO, 2007a), a set of 20 training-modules produced for UNIDO and REEEP (the Renewable
Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership2). The modules will be used by governments, regulatory offices
and industry in Africa for stimulating policy and commercial development in renewable energy and
energy efficiency. Of particular relevance is the general trend to more liberalized electricity supplies, as
regulated within new legislation. Within each country, institutional frameworks can be changed and
improved for the benefit of both citizens and commerce alike. There is a common trend worldwide to
include institutional mechanisms for the increase of renewable energy generation and the efficient use of
energy within regulatory legislation, e.g. (Harrington et al., 2007).
Government involvement and ministerial regulation is most common for electricity. In all countries, the
introductory stages of electricity supply have been strongly influenced by national and local government
action and ownership. However, once initiated, an established market economy, involving many competitive private companies, should produce electricity at less cost to the consumer and the nation, than if
wholly owned and operated by government. Such improvement requires a carefully constructed legal
framework, especially because there are many monopoly aspects of electricity supply. The administration
and control of the legal objectives requires jurisdiction, usually by the appointment of a Regulator with a
specialist and independent staff. Thus, hand-in-hand with the liberalization of energy supplies is the
requirement for regulation.
1 Written by the Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, Energy and Cleaner Production Branch,
Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Unit.
2 See www.reeep.org
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Since 1990, liberalization of energy supply, especially of electricity, has been introduced throughout
Europe. The main actions have been at national level; consequently, individual national policies and
methods dominate. Nevertheless, having an integrated European electricity grid encourages commonality throughout Europe. Associated with liberalization is the growth of private company participation
and hence the need for legally enforceable regulation by a Regulator. The pattern of development in
Europe is similar to many other world regions including North America. However, European electricity
supply is older and the population more concentrated than in most other regions, therefore the opportunity for structured liberalization came first in Europe. Consequently, the European experience is important for formulating policy elsewhere, including Africa. However, without competition from several
private companies for each contract, liberalization may well fail to deliver the improved services and
reduced energy tariffs expected; chapter three considers such experience.
Coincidentally with the trend to energy supply liberalization, has come the need for renewable energy supplies and increased energy efficiency. This change is promoted by several factors, including: sustainable
development, new technology, reduced emissions and climate change. New technology enables improvements
in the efficient generation and use of energy, thus bringing financial savings and reduced environmental
impact. Renewable energy, e.g. sunshine (solar), wind or biomass, utilizes local resources with no fossilfuel costs, with acceptable emissions and with enhanced security of supply. The turnover for European
business in energy efficiency and renewable energy is now of the order of 25 billion euro per year3,
associated with about 150,0004 full-time-equivalent jobs. Such economic activity provides stimulation
for similar industrial and commercial development in Africa. The need to improve energy-supply security and the necessity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, have led to legislation and targets to increase
the efficient use of energy both by good management practice (which is cheap) and by targeted capital
expenditure (which usually has rapid payback time, perhaps less than a year and usually within three
years). Using energy more efficiently is highly profitable for business.
2. Electricity supply: Development and change
2.1 Networks
The first public electricity supplies were from European and American municipal networks around 1890
[e.g. 3]. The number and international extent of these local schemes grew rapidly, so by 1930, separate
networks were becoming integrated into national grids with generation mostly from coal-fired and hydroelectric power stations. The initial aim of such an electrical network was for the wires to pass power back
and forth, strengthening supply throughout and with moderate scale generation embedded within it. Such
a structure looked like a ‘grid-iron’, i.e. a metal net-like structure used for cooking over a fire; hence, the
abbreviation to ‘grid’ or ‘net’.
In 1950, emphasis was given to large thermal stations (electricity generating capacity ~ 1000 MW) exporting power into a radial arrangement of high-voltage transmission lines. Along this star-like arrangement,
connection points to the transmission lines took power to low-voltage networks that distributed electric3 Author’s informed estimate from Eurfores and EREC basic data
4 Author’s informed estimate from Eurfores and EREC basic data
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
ity to consumers. No longer was dispersed and embedded generation expected. Such large-scale generation, either coal or nuclear suited nationalized government and large company ownership especially when
linked to similar ownership of coal mining. In the 1960s, oil-burning thermal stations formed similar
centralized power sources. The waste heat from such centralized thermal stations was seldom used for
heat supplies5, so usually only about 33 per cent of the energy in the fuel became electrical energy, with
the remaining 67 per cent discharged as waste heat.
In the 1980s, fossil-gas (mostly methane, misguidedly called ‘natural gas’) was used increasingly for power
generation. The gas combusts at high-temperature, allowing more efficient and smaller power plant to be
used, e.g. combined cycle of gas turbine followed by steam turbine. Such plant could be installed throughout the network; usually financed and operated privately and often linked with use of the otherwise waste
heat. Therefore, conversion to electricity was possible at about 50 per cent efficiency, and to combined
heat and electrical power at perhaps 85 per cent overall efficiency. Such dispersed and embedded fossilfuelled generation is 2 to 3 times more efficient than the large centralized coal and nuclear plant.
The 1980s also saw the introduction of new and different forms of renewable energy, especially electrical
power from wind, small hydro, solar photovoltaic and non-fossil landfill-gas and biomass sources. Such plant
was usually connected as dispersed embedded generation within the local distribution networks, emulating
the original ‘grid-iron’ concept. Europe now has around 12,000 MW6 of such new distributed capacity
with thousands of new companies and about 100,0007 employees involved directly in renewables and
associated new technology.
Thus, the structure of modern electrical supplies has some common features with the original concepts
of linked dispersed generation. However, this analogy is only superficial since the technology for controlling the grid voltage, frequency, stability and power flows is completely new relying much on modern
solid-state electronics and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition). Cost accounting is also much
developed since different cost-centres or companies are integrated for generation, transmission, distribution, supply and metering, yet each has to be paid separately. The operation of both the equipment and
the accounting is very dependent on computer-based technology and communication. It is obvious that the
total change in electricity systems since 1980 has given opportunities for new industries and new enterprise.
2.2 Isolated and stand-alone electrical power
Stand-alone electricity systems, although not connected to a grid network, are extremely common in all
countries. Where there is a comprehensive grid, the majority are for emergency standby power, especially in hospitals and factories. The UK for instance, has about 100,0008 such systems, not including
portable generators. If the grid is distant, the stand-alone systems are for regular power in rural homes
and schools. It is a mistake to think that stand-alone power systems are only for less developed regions;
however, in such situations stand-alone power can transform living conditions and increase economic
benefit. The most common generation for stand-alone power is from motor-generators and/or photo-
5 There were definite exceptions, especially in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, where local-scale distribution of heat from a ‘heat grid’
allowed combined generation of heat and electrical power.
6 Author’s summation from several technology-specific studies.
7 Author’s summation from several technology-specific studies.
8 Author’s estimate.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
voltaic solar modules9, although wind and small-hydro generation is also used where appropriate. The
motor-generators may be fuelled by fossil fuels or by biofuels. Small systems usually require electricity
storage in batteries to smooth the supply.
Mini-grids not connected to a main ‘utility’ grid, may be installed to serve a group of consumers. Indeed,
the original municipal grids of around 1900 were of this type. The power generation for mini-grids is
usually similar to that for stand-alone power but at a larger scale and usually with professional
management. In developed economies, mini-grids supply permanent power for small islands and remote
2.3 Microgeneration
Grid connected, small-scale electricity generation can be installed at a building for both on-site and
exported power. Power used on-site displaces otherwise imported power and power exported becomes
income. The local grid may therefore receive power from many such microgeneration stations as
dispersed input and usually controlled by modern solid-state electronics. Common examples worldwide
are photovoltaic solar arrays on buildings. Such microgeneration may be significant for sustainability
since the owners show responsibility for their own needs whilst interacting with others via the grid. A
major challenge for microgeneration is obtaining the institutional permissions for such connection and
financial dealings.
Note that the power generators for stand-alone installations and isolated mini-grids are of the same kind
as for grid-connected microgeneration. Therefore, if a new utility grid reaches an originally isolated
system, a connection can be made so the original stand-alone generation becomes grid-connected microgeneration. Such a transition requires the original stand-alone system to have been designed for such a
possibility which, although not common, is not an expensive condition.
3. Government policy and regulation
of energy services
3.1 Worldwide experience
Energy supply is essential for all aspects of life, industry and commerce. A successful economy depends
on both supply and use being secure, safe and efficient. Therefore, it is a duty of governments to have clear
policies for national energy supply as administered and checked by regulatory mechanisms10. Most
governments link such actions with policies for industry, commerce and environmental care. Within
energy supply and use, electricity is always of major interest especially since grid supply has monopolistic
characteristics and there are always concerns for safety and security. Although government policies and
regulation apply also to fuels and heat, it is electricity that attracts most attention.
Public electricity supply systems began about 110 years ago with municipal authorities and governments
much involved. Today, electricity supply is considered an essential service to be provided by a government
9 Worldwide, there is about 1 million ‘solar homes’ using stand-alone photovoltaic power. This number is increasing annually.
10 See (1) www.utilityregulation.com for US information. (2) www.globalregulatorynetwork.org for developing country regulatory
activity generally and links to global regulatory activity. (3) www.raponline.org international and US developments in regulation,
especially energy. (4) www.afurnet.org for African Forum of Utility Regulators.
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
or private utilities. Whenever and wherever public electricity supply has been initiated, the same pattern
of events has occurred. Cables have to be installed along public highways and safety has to be assured;
therefore, government planning policies and standards has to be developed and legalized. The monopoly
nature of the distribution cables requires structured government supervision and common technical
standards for voltage, frequency and stability. In addition, initial capital costs are large but the initial
consumer base is small, so government and municipal finance is needed. In general, government or
municipal ownership of generating plant and distribution lines has been the development norm worldwide, as in much of Africa today.
However, continued public ownership of established electricity supply systems has a downside. The State
Utilities become huge organizations, which governments find expensive and hard to control. Indeed,
these organizations tend to become feudalistic oligarchies, answerable to neither the public nor shareholders. Often, further public finance is restricted as other government expenditures take priority.
Consequently, the introduction of new technology, capital and market enterprise is handicapped and may
be barred. In general, consumers may not receive the service they expect. At such a stage, governments
may involve private companies, either to manage government owned installations or to purchase and
operate plant and lines. Consequently, there is worldwide trend to privatization and liberalization of
state-owned utilities and services for competition and consumer choice (Hunt et al., 1996).
3.2 Regulation of services and trade
Whether in private or public ownership, the energy industry remains a ‘utility’ for public service and so
government regulation is still essential. This regulation may remain internal within government, e.g.
within a government ministry, or may be established as an independent body without immediate government control. If the latter, then government legislates accordingly, usually within wider legislation for the
reform of energy supply, to establish a Regulator for the public service, in the manner of a judge or sheriff
who interprets, adjudicates and takes action to uphold law. The Regulator is usually empowered to
prevent market abuse, ensure good service and transparency of essential information, limit unjustified
company profit and reduce environmental harm. The method of operation is usually to issue licenses
related to the following functions (Berg et al., 2000):
• setting performance standards;
• monitoring the performance of regulated firms;
• establishing the level and structure of tariffs;
• establishing a uniform accounting system;
• arbitrating disputes among stakeholders;
• performing management audits on regulated firms;
• developing human resources; and
• reporting sector and regulatory activities to government.
The overriding purpose of liberalization is to have efficient, secure and cost-effective services within a
framework of market opportunity for competitive business. Therefore, it is essential that the Regulator
understands and supports opportunities for developing industry and trade, whilst at the same time
protecting consumers. In practice, responsibilities are often shared by several regulatory and ministerial
bodies, e.g. Energy, Competitive Trade, Environment, Health and Safety.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
For liberalized11 energy services, especially for electricity, clarification is needed between energy generation,
delivery (e.g. electricity transmission and distribution), supply (e.g. purchase and sale) and measurement
(e.g. metering). These functions have to be operated by separately accounted entities (if there is some
Government ownership) or companies (if privatized); this ‘unbundling’ discourages monopolies and
encourages competition. Unbundling may be ‘vertical’ (e.g. for electricity supply, separating generation,
transmission, distribution, metering and supply) and/or ‘horizontal’ (separating companies of the same
type so there is market competition wherever possible). Such liberalization provides stimulating opportunities for business.
In a fully liberalized electricity system with significant unbundling, the competitive market mechanism
for electricity supply also operates under regulation. The technical requirement is that the total supply
has to equal the total demand continuously, with a short-term accuracy of less than about 1 per cent. The
balance is maintained within a hierarchy of competitively tendered contracts for future generation at least
24 hours ahead. Fine-tuning depends on special contracts for rapid generation when needed. This highly sophisticated market works within clearly defined rules and, perhaps surprisingly, is able to sustain a
reliable and low-cost electricity supply.
Capital investment is always a difficulty for government, so privatization thrusts the problem onto business to raise finance. Indeed, government may mandate (obligate) the private utilities to invest, say in
renewable energy and energy efficiency. It is common then for the Government, as administered by the
Regulator, to allow a levy to be charged to consumers to help meet the obligated expenditure.
3.3 Sub-Saharan Africa
Information on energy supply and use in Africa may be obtained from key international organizations,
such as the International Energy Agency12 and UN Energy Statistics13. The EIA of the United States
Department of Energy is a comprehensive source of information14. Although up-to-date detailed
information may be difficult to obtain and characteristics vary by country, the general trends are clear. In
Africa, per capita energy use and per capita emissions from fossil-fuel are very small and renewable energy
use is proportionally (but not absolutely) significant.
Carbon emissions
In a world seeking to reduce the emissions of fossil-carbon into the Atmosphere, sub-Saharan Africa
should be awarded credit for having the least per-capita emissions of any strongly populated region worldwide. The average per capita carbon emission15 is 0.1 tonne Carbon/y, which contrasts with the world
average of 1 tC/y, the European average of about 2.5 tC/y and the United States of 5.5 tC/y (EIA, 2000).
We may note the ethical target for all countries to converge to equal low values of per capita climatechange gaseous emissions.
There is a marked variation of fossil-carbon emissions by country in Africa and elsewhere, Fig 1, mostly
because some countries (e.g. Botswana) use their own coal deposits and because oil-producing countries
11 Alternatively named ‘privatised’ or ‘deregulated’ (despite being regulated!)
12 See http://www.iea.org/index.asp
13 See http://unstats.un.org/unsd/energy/default.htm
14 See http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/subafricaenv.html
15 i.e. the carbon mass in CO , = 12/44 of the CO mass
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
(e.g. Nigeria) export significantly. It is also possible that fuelwood carbon (which does not add to the
climate burden) is incorrectly included in African statistics for climate-change emissions, so the actual
climate-change impact from Africa is even less.
Figure 1: Energy related carbon emissions from Sub-Saharan Africa. Year 2001. Taken
from [6]. (Note, if the data includes traditional fuelwood, then the climate-change
impact is even less than implied).
Metric Tons of Carbon
Sub-Saharan Average
The EIA (EIA, 2000) quotes the World Bank’s estimate that African oil and gas extraction plant continuously flares gas as waste; this wasted energy is equivalent to twelve times the energy that the continent is
using. This flaring releases carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere without any benefit. Utilizing the
otherwise waste gas seems an obvious development, but this may not be beneficial in the long-term if
distracting from truly sustainable and renewable resources.
Energy Intensity
A crude measurement of energy efficiency at national scale is Energy Intensity. Energy Intensity (E) is the
ratio of national energy supply (energy units) to national GNP (money units). As an indicator of economic success and sustainability, E should decrease with time, whilst GNP increases. If energy supply is
expensive and use of energy is inefficient, then E is likely to increase with time, even if GNP increases.
Since initial improvements in energy efficiency are relatively cheap, E is more likely to decrease by
improved efficiency of end-use than by strategies to increase supply. Obviously improving the efficiencies
of both supply and end-use is the best strategy; however, the methods required for each are considerably
The greatest benefit of measuring national Energy Intensity (E) comes from the changes with time of E
for each country. Comparisons between countries are not easy to interpret, since lifestyles, economic
structures, energy resources and industries vary considerably. However, over the last 25 years, it is evident
that only the industrialized countries have consistently reduced national energy intensity whilst increasing GNP. This indicates that only these countries that have addressed energy efficiency as a long-term
national issue; see Box 1.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Box 1: Energy Intensity: E
Considerable information is available from the Energy Information Administration of the
Department of Energy, USA (see http://www.eia.doe.ov/pub/international/iealf). Information below
is from this source. The unit used is Btu (=1056 Joule) per $US (year 2000) of purchasing
1. Industrialized and OECD countries now have E in the range of 14,000 (Canada),
9,300(USA) to 7,000 (European). For most of these countries, E has reduced steadily
during the last 20 years by about 20 per cent, i.e. at about 1 per cent per year.
2. The oil producing countries have E in the range of about 30,000 to 50,000. For some of
these countries, values tended to peak around 1990 and then decrease. However, the overall
impression is that E remains large without steady reduction.
3. Sub-Saharan African countries without fossil-fuel resources have E about 2,000 (e.g. the
Gambia) to 4,000 (e.g. Kenya). Some countries have increased E with time, others have
decreased, and for most there is no consistent pattern.
4. Sub-Saharan African countries with fossil-fuel resources have E in the range of 12,000
(South Africa) to 2,500 (e.g. the Sudan). Some countries have increased E with time, others
have decreased, and for most there is no consistent pattern.
source: (EIA, 2000)
Carbon intensity
Carbon intensity (strictly fossil-carbon intensity) is defined in a similar manner to Energy Intensity, as the
national carbon (or carbon dioxide) emissions per unit of GNP. The EIA (EIA, 2000) is a comprehensive source of such information. Note that the ratio of the mass of carbon per mass of carbon dioxide is
12/22. Table 1 gives data in units of metric tones per million US$ (dollar value normalized to year 2000);
unfortunately ‘fossil-carbon’ from coal is not distinguished from ‘biotic-carbon’ from fuelwood; this distinction is important for statistics for Africa. If carbon intensity is a measure of responsibility for abating
climate change, then having large values is irresponsible and having small values is responsible. By this
criteria Africa does well. However, values that are decreasing with time may also indicate climate-change
responsibility, in which case Africa is not doing so well. The implication is that development in Africa is
not introducing clean technology and improved energy efficiency.
Table 1: Carbon (dioxide) intensity (EIA, 2000)
CO2 intensity 1990
tonne per million US $
(value, year 2000)
CO2 intensity 2003
tonne per million US $
(value, year 2000)
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
The crux of the matter for Africa is that energy supplies are in practice limited and very expensive in
proportion to available income. It makes sense to improve the energy efficiency, so costs reduce and
productivity increases.
As with all regions, Africa has both good and bad energy management. An outstandingly good example
in principle is the sugar cane industry, which is capable of being self-heated and self-electrified by waste
bagasse combustion. Important by-products can be produced, including bio-ethanol for transport fuel.
Another example is traditional housing, which is usually passively insulated and ventilated in contrast with
much modern construction that requires substantial electricity for cooling and ventilation. Throughout
Africa, vehicle transportation is often inefficient per vehicle because of poor roads, poor maintenance and
lack of railways, but may be considered efficient per passenger because of crowded use.
Most African electricity supply utilities have been government owned and operated. Cities and towns
have been the priority for grid supplies and the allocation of generating capacity. As in all countries, providing grid electricity to dispersed rural population is expensive, technically inefficient and with little
return on expenditure. To date, no sub-Saharan African country has managed to provide a grid to reach
a significant majority of the rural population. In cities, increasing demand for air conditioning (usually
for uninsulated and unshaded buildings) is sapping generating capacity, often with the threat of blackouts. Facing all these challenges, improvement strategies could include initiating one or more of:
• unbundling;
• management contracts to private companies;
• corporations (government owned companies);
• accepting power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs);
• sale of infrastructure to independent private companies; and
• major amendment to energy law, e.g. Electricity Acts.
Several African countries have legislated for such change towards greater liberalization of energy supply,
especially of electricity, and usually within a continuing structure of government ownership16. However,
the experience to-date has not always been straightforward, see Chapter three. In general there is a lack
of comprehensive and integrated legislation for infrastructure development of energy supply and use, and
lack of total jurisdiction by an independent national Regulator. There is pressure from the World Bank
and other international agencies to progress to liberalization of public services, as for instance the Bank’s
support of the African Forum of Utility Regulators (AFUR)17.
There is of course a fundamental difficulty in pushing for private business, yet expecting social service to
continue to the poor. Business expects profit, which is least likely from poor customers. Therefore, the
very people most in need of support may be of little interest to private companies. Such unfortunate experiences have been known for water supply in Tanzania, Brazil, and the USA, and for electricity supply
in the UK. Thus, the terms of liberalization of utility services must be carefully drafted to protect supply
at affordable tariffs to the very poor; for instance, initial supplies can cheap, with the unit price increasing in proportion to the quantity consumed. Prepayment metering is also a common stratagem.
16 Module 4 of ref 1 gives an excellent summary of mid - 2006.
17 See www1.worldbank.org/afur/
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Particular examples of progress to the liberalization of energy supply and the establishment of regulation
in Africa can be given. Further details are in (UNIDO, 2007a) and in the information given below.
4. Renewable energy
4.1 Policies
Renewable energy supplies are obtained from natural, repetitive and persistent flows of energy occurring
in the immediate environment (Twidell et al., 2006). Obvious examples are solar (sunshine), hydro and
biomass energy. Two general benefits are immediately apparent; the energy is intrinsically sustainable18
and without fossil-carbon emissions. Such sustainable development is an obvious need for all countries
(Dirk et al., 2006). Throughout Africa there is considerable experience of fuelwood as renewable energy, there is large and well-established hydropower capacity across the continent and geothermal power
generation is established in the Rift Valley of Kenya. To such ‘established’ energy supplies, many ‘new’
technologies have been commercialized worldwide in the last 30 years; examples include wind turbine
electricity, solar photovoltaic electricity, small hydro plant, and a wide range of secondary biofuels.
Especially in North Africa, there is considerable expectation of relatively large scale generation of electricity from solar photovoltaic.. Nevertheless, to date in Africa, most experience of the new renewables relates
to small-scale installations, especially for stand-alone rural electricity. The potential is very large, but there
are few African countries with comprehensive legislation to link liberalization of national utilities with
increase of renewable energy from local and national resources. In many countries, there are no national
targets specifically to increase renewable energy.
The somewhat tentative steps towards modern renewable energy in Africa contrast with policy change in
OECD and EU countries, where renewables are of mainstream interest and often included within
strategies to regulate liberalized energy supplies. It seems clear that the Kyoto Protocol commitments and
pressures on the industrial countries have spurred these countries to increase renewable energy supplies to
mitigate climate change emissions, especially from fossil-carbon. The inference is that in the OECD and
EU, the opportunity has been taken to link the liberalization energy supply with policies for sustainable
development19. Such policies combine the aims of greater energy security, protection from fossil-fuel price
increase and reductions in fossil-carbon emissions. For instance, in the UK, the electricity and gas
Regulatory office (Ofgem) manages the Renewable Energy Certificate mechanism for a steady increase in
electricity supply from renewables. Such policy overlap is yet uncommon in Africa, although there are
clear examples of such preliminary actions in some counties, as outlined in Table 2.
18 i.e. if human action allows the ‘natural’ processes to continue.
19 Despite the failure of the Federal Government of the USA to ratify commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, there has been
significant positive action within States of the USA.
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
Table 2: Case Study examples of integrated liberalization and sustainability initiatives in
Africa, taken from (UNIDO, 2007a).
Regulatory Board/Act
Renewables policy
Energy Foundation
(from 1997)
Information and promotion.
Electricity Commission
Act 1997
Grants for renewables,
especially rural electrification
Electricity Act (1997)
Geothermal power
Sugar Industry Efficiency Act
Exported electricity
from sugar mills
Republic of Uganda Act 1999,
sect 66
Grants and subsidies for
renewables from a
‘rural electrification fund’
Zero-rated license fees
Energy Regulation Board
(from 1997)
Mechanism Class
There is now significant experience worldwide, especially in the EU, of various policy mechanisms to
increase renewable energy supplies. (Mallon, 2006). Thus, private industry benefits from installing and
managing new technology, governments benefit from not having to fund new investment and the public
benefits from the environmental and sustainability improvements. The cost to consumers needs to be
regulated either directly within government or via an empowered Regulator.
The four main classes of mechanism to increase renewable energy generating capacity and supplies as
enforced (obligated) by state or federal governments are:
1. ‘Feed laws’, i.e. favourable obligated fixed-rate tariffs for generators to sell renewable energy
(usually as electricity) to networks. The purchasing ‘suppliers’ are therefore obligated to buy at
the special tariff rate and are allowed to fund the extra cost from a relatively small levy on all their
2. ‘Quotas’ of renewable energy, by amount or proportion, e.g. as obligated for electricity suppliers and perhaps assisted by a market in ‘green certificates’. In the USA, this class is named the
‘Renewables Portfolio Standard’ – RPS;
3. ‘Competitive Tendering’ for government contracts for generation; usually linked with obligations on suppliers to purchase the renewables electricity at a premium price and pass the cost to
consumers as a levy; and
4. ‘Financial incentives’ e.g. tax and fee exemptions and/or grants.
Specific ‘Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)’ may be contracted between utilities and private generators
for usually long-term (10 to 15 year) periods with set tariffs; such agreements are a form of feed-law, but,
without general application, they do not encourage widespread business. Successful examples relate to
small-scale hydropower in Sri Lanka and Nepal (UNIDO, 2007a).
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
A major task in Africa is the provision of electricity to rural communities distant from a utility network
grid. Traditionally, this was considered a task for either the nationalized utility (with an ‘in house’ subsidy from government finance) or a private enterprise, working separately from the nationalized utility and
probably with a different ministry and a N.G.O., often with financial subsidy from international aid. The
technology required is an appropriate form of stand-alone power, often with renewable energy generation.
Having a national policy for energy liberalization requires distinct legislation, in which case the opportunity can be taken to include innovative policy for rural electricity as an aspect of liberalization. For
instance, there may be special benefits and tariffs to encourage community-owned stand-alone mini-grids.
Another opportunity is to include both generation and energy-efficiency as activities for Energy Service
Companies, e.g. for individual solar-homes20, where best use of home generation requires efficient consumption.
An excellent example of integrating renewable energy generation into a national utility service is available
from Mauritius (UNIDO, 2007a). This demonstrates several mechanisms: (1) liberalization of a nationalized utility, (2) purchase of power from an Independent Power Producer, (3) tariffs set to motivate
private power exports, (4) more secure national sustainability and (5) support for local employment with
internal national cash flow.
4.2 Renewable Energy Technologies
Energy supply is best understood as being needed for heating, transportation fuel and electricity. Within
each category, a range of renewable energy technologies has become reliable and cost effective; these ‘new’
technologies are now accepted for successful business and industry. Examples are:
• Heating: solar water heaters, passive solar building design (also incorporating cooling), biomass
crops and waste, biogas, geothermal sources, heat pumps;
• Transportation fuel: ethanol (e.g. from sugar cane processing) for spark ignition engines, biodiesel
(e.g. for diesel compression engines from sunflower, canola, coconut);
• Electricity: solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro (including run-of-the-river), geothermal, biomass
thermal generation, biofuel engine generators.
The growth of renewable energy business is now substantial worldwide. Such growth is predominantly
in those countries having governmental market support mechanisms and accreditation procedures and
standards. It is particularly noticeable how small companies, often founded by committed entrepreneurs,
have become major players, e.g. the Danish wind energy companies such as Vestas. As the market opportunities have increased, so has the interest of major companies, e.g. General Electric, which often enter
the market by buying successful smaller companies. The market is strong, not only for companies providing technology for ‘prime sources’, but also in companies providing infrastructure, e.g. ‘Sunny Boy’
(electricity inverters from Germany) and ‘Renewable Energy Supplies – RES’ (windfarm developers from
the UK).
With institutional support for market incentives, there are major opportunities in Africa for new companies and agencies dealing in renewable energy. For instance, there is now a worldwide trend for govern-
20 Buildings with electricity generated from photovoltaic modules with battery storage.
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
ments to have mandatory proportions of biofuels as a component of all transportation fuels. An example
is given in Box 2. There is an established history of some African countries, e.g. Malawi, including ~ 10
per cent bioethanol with fossil-petroleum, so the technology and practice is certainly not new. However,
it is only recently that governments have included environmental reasons for adopting the policy and have
included natural plant oils as components of diesel fuel.
Box 2: South African biofuel programme
In February 200721, the South African Cabinet adopted a strategy for mandatory biofuel components
of both petroleum (for spark ignition engines) and diesel (for diesel cycle engines). The strategy, to
become law in 2007, is for:
• Mandatory proportions of 8 per cent bioethanol (E8) in petroleum and 2% biodiesel (B2)
in diesel;
• 100 per cent fuel-levy exemption on initial biodiesel production;
• 100 per cent fuel-levy exemption for small producers of bioethanol;
• reduced fuel-levy on other biofuel production;
• use of a central hedging fund to maintain steady prices for biofuel crops;
• encouragement for government agencies to support biofuel initiatives.
The bioethanol is expected to be from fermentation of molasses as a by-product of the sugar cane
industry and from fermentation of yellow maize. Biodiesel will be from oil producing plants, such as
palm oil and jatropha. The production will create new agribusiness.
South African synthetic fuels company, Sasol, which pioneered the use of petrol and diesel from coal
and natural gas in a joint effort with the government’s Central Energy Fund, will build a biodiesel
production plant based on soya beans.
The benefits of the government’s plans are:
• diversification in agriculture;
• utilizing and transforming the countries expertise in producing oil from coal;
• 55,000 new jobs, mostly rural;
• reduction in national unemployment by 1.3 per cent;
• increase in GNP by 0.12 per cent (6 per cent of the rural fraction of GNP);
• reduction of imported oil, improving balance of payments by nearly 4 billion Rand per year;
• meeting 75 per cent of the national renewable energy target of 10,000 GWh/year by 2013; and
• reducing fossil-carbon emissions to support the South African Kyoto target.
(Source: South African agency ‘Engineering News, 02/2007)
4.3 Know-how and standards
Renewable energy policies and markets are only successful if underpinned by substantial effort in training personnel and setting technical standards. The present success of renewable energy in Europe has
occurred after 25 years of sustained support in research, development, demonstration and education by
21 Information from the South African agency ‘Engineering News’, http://www.engineeringnews.co.za (accessed 27/2/07)
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
the European Commission. Without such background support, countless renewable energy projects have
foundered due to public misunderstanding, poor design, unsatisfactory installation, lack of maintenance,
lack of spare parts and consumer misunderstanding. Only governments, working with interest groups and
trade associations, can give the comprehensive support needed to initiate and maintain such new technologies. Nevertheless, without an ongoing market, such efforts will be in vain. A successful market
depends on well-defined Government incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, so that business and investment banks are confident of sustained market conditions and income for many years
4.4 Implementation
The positive implementation of new renewable energy technologies within liberalized markets in the
national grids of OECD countries contrasts with Africa. Many African countries have involved private
companies in management and ownership of plant, e.g. as Independent Power Producers (IPP), but
almost exclusively such plant is powered by fossil fuel and not renewable energy. An exception is geothermal plant in Kenya. The reason is that both the governments and the private companies have shortterm aims, for example to meet a power crisis and to repay invested capital rapidly. There may be no
immediate financial benefit in reducing emissions or favoring sustainability. An IPP will initiate improved
energy efficient generation, but only if this is cost effect for the company. Without some other financial
mechanism, the relatively large initial capital cost of renewables generation excludes such technology.
The use of renewable energy in Africa is usually supported by governments for rural development,
especially for electricity (Ranganathan, 1992). There are many thousands of successful installations,
mostly solar homes but also including local networks. Such applications often feature in energy
legislation. The motivation is mostly for immediate benefit, despite the implications for long-term
Reduction in carbon emissions has not been a primary reason for introducing renewables in Africa.
However, such environmental reasons are seen as increasingly important (Foster-Pedley et al., 2006),
often associated with the conditions for funding. For instance, major multilateral funds and mechanisms
exist for offsetting carbon emissions in industrial countries, such as the Global Environmental Facility
Similarly the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows the developed signatory countries of the
Kyoto Protocol to offset excessive climate change emissions by financing clean technology in developing
countries through a credit mechanism.
In practice, predominantly large-scale developments are supported, often involving efficiency improvements with fossil fuels, rather than installing renewables. Such ‘carbon-dioxide equivalent verified
emission’ (CER) offset schemes also exist between entities in industrial countries and renewable energy
programs in developing countries. Some small-scale renewables developments are being funded from
money given by individuals and companies offsetting their carbon emissions by voluntary donations
through dedicated offset agencies, e.g. the company ‘Climate Care’ in the UK23.
22 The GEF finances support from the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP for the aims of the UN Framework Conventions on Climate
Change and Biological Diversity, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
23 See http://www.climatecare.org/
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
5. Energy efficiency
There are many opportunities for improving the efficiency of the supply and use of energy. The interest
of utilities tends to emphasize supply-side equipment and plant, so leaving demand-side efficiency
improvement to other agencies. For instance, a recent study under UNIDO auspices (Williams et al.
2005) considers industrial electric motor systems, which consume a significant fraction of every nation’s
electricity supply for services (e.g. water supply, air conditioning, refrigeration), and for manufacturing
processes. The study shows that technological improvements in motor drives and training in their use
could reduce national electricity consumption in China by 20 per cent.
There are many other opportunities regarding heating, transport and other applications of energy supply.
Not only can there be improvements in the efficiency of supplying energy, but there are many opportunities for improving the efficiency of the use of the energy (end-use efficiency). These subjects are of major
importance for systems optimization and for consumer interests; yet the efficient use of energy receives
far less attention than efficient supply. Nevertheless, the efficiency of supply is affected by the demand,
so it may be more cost-effective for a supplier to reduce the demand by improvement of demand efficiency, than to install extra supply plant or to increase fuel consumption; this is called ‘demand-side
management’. Consumers benefit most when the emphasis is placed on energy service; not only is cost
reduced for the consumer, but the same generation benefits more people.
There are several factors affecting the efficiency of supply and use of energy. These include:
• technical improvements;
• technical standards;
• operation and maintenance;
• information exchange and communication, e.g. electronic communication and accounting;
• economic and financial improvements;
• public understanding and knowledge, e.g. through energy labeling, by transparent disclosure
of information; and
• obligated Regulatory Conditions.
In general, increased efficiency improves the service from a resource without increasing the primary
supply. It also makes the same supply available to more consumers, which is particularly important in
many supply-limited regions of Africa. Energy efficiency maximizes the benefits of energy use whilst
minimizing the impacts of generation.
The Stern Review ‘The Economics of Climate Change’ (Stern, 2007) includes an analysis of how technological transfer and emission-abatement credit funding can simultaneously improve wealth production
in developing counties and give carbon-emission reductions in both the ‘donor’ and ‘receiver’ counties.
The example of a Technical Needs Assessment (TNA) and its subsequent support is given for Ghana24. In
2003, the TNA was submitted by Ghana to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) with a range of projects that could reduce Ghana’s climate change gaseous emissions and
increase sustainable development; these included:
• demand-side energy efficiency improvements, including increased boiler efficiency;
• methane gas capture and use from landfill;
• growth and use of jatropha oil as biofuel; and
• extensive deployment of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to replace incandescent lamps.
24 Box 23.2, page 565 of [12]
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
The programme in Ghana was funded by UNDP via the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and from
the United States via the Climate Technology Initiative and the Dept. of Energy, with technical support
from the Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US. This donor funding promotes emission reductions in
donor countries. The CFL deployment seeded an extended programme that gave a 6 per cent reduction
in Ghana’s national electricity demand (lighting consumed 50 per cent of electricity).
5.1 End-use efficiency improvement
Reducing resource consumption, e.g. electricity, is well understood, with much information available.
However, few consumers take the task seriously. A major mistake is not to evaluate lifetime costs (purchase plus lifetime operation), but only consider purchase costs. Thus increased capital expenditure may
be financially sensible if operating costs are reduced. An example regarding lighting is given in Box 3, and
an analysis related to conditions in South Africa is in (Fritz, 2006). This example is typical, in that simple changes in consumer purchases can make significant changes in energy efficiency and in long-term
total expenditure. Other common examples of at least 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption,
without reduction in service occur with building construction, refrigeration, heating, electronic equipment and vehicles. In many case, but not all, such energy saving requires increased capital expenditure,
which is recouped within a few years by reduced operational cost. Many consumers tend to purchase at
least cost, so, often unwittingly, committing themselves to increased operational cost and long-term
Box 3. Lighting
The easiest example for average consumers to appreciate is the benefit of compact fluorescent lights
compared with ‘ordinary’ incandescent electric lights. The simplest measure of efficiency is the ratio
of the energy delivered in visible light to the electrical energy consumed. In general, the energy
efficiency of an incandescent light bulb is about 4 per cent (lifetime ~1000 h), and a compact
fluorescent light with an electronic starter 22 per cent (lifetime ~10,000h). The lifetime cost of a
compact fluorescent (purchase plus electricity used for 10,000h) is about 80 euro less than the
lifetime cost of 10 incandescent lights (1,000 h each) giving the same light. This is a most
significant saving. This example shows how basic information should be made available to consumers, e.g. by compulsory labeling and how technical back-up is needed for optimum practice.
End-use energy efficiency is helped by:
• standards*;
• appliance labeling*;
• easily understood and widely available information*;
• government advice centers and agencies1*;
• media attention;
• inclusion in school education*;
• monitoring and feedback of results;
• professional energy management and auditing;
• annual accounting; and
• preferential taxation relief and grants*.
Source: International Association of Energy Efficient Lighting,www.iaeel.org
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
All these factors should induce behavioral change, which is essential for improving end-use efficiency.
Note how aspects of government policy (marked * on the list above) can be used to support and encourage consumer response.
For commerce, there are very considerable benefits if a nation stresses the efficient use of energy. Not only
can companies save on their own energy expenditures, but there is an increased market in good quality
and more expensive products, which may have an increased profit margin. With a correct policy for the
efficient use of energy, everyone wins – consumer, manufacturer, shopkeeper and the nation.
For improvements in energy efficiency, a major difference between energy supply and end-use is the numbers of people involved. For instance, considering just paid employees, on the supply side, we can expect
about 1 employee per megawatt of supply capacity, whereas, at end-use in industry and business, employees will number 100’s to 1000’s per megawatt capacity. If the domestic and general public is included, then there are tens of thousands of consumers per megawatt capacity. Passing information to end-use
consumers and training them in good practice is therefore a major task of national proportions. Success
can only come by constant and targeted interaction with the energy users, providing them with information in attractive formats and stimulating training. An example of such a program is the UNIDO series
of ‘handy manuals for energy conservation’, produced for employees on major energy-consuming industries, such as food processing, paper and pulp, cement and textiles (UNIDO, 2007b).
5.2 Supply-side energy efficiency
The supply of commercial energy is a highly professional and technical task, which can be mirrored in the
approach to improve efficiency and reduce environmental harm. Since many standards and regulations
already exist, governments can amend and add to these. With a government mandate, Regulators can
include energy efficiency and environmental improvement within licensing requirements.
Section 2.1 mentions technology available and experienced for improved efficiency from electricity generation. There are many other possibilities at all stages of the energy generation and supply chain. In
practice, innovation and change in nationalized industries is restricted by lack of capital, lack of motivation and acceptance of the status quo ‘for an easy life’. With liberalization and regulation, energy and
business efficiency may be greatly improved, especially where there is competition for licensing and
trading. Global trade in carbon-abatement credits should provide incentives for improved efficiency.
Some examples of improved energy supply efficiency in the electricity sector are:
• combined heat and power;
• combined-cycle electricity generation;
• co-firing of coal with biomass;
• improved turbine runners in hydro plant;
• incorporating embedded generation;
• incorporating new renewables, e.g. wind and solar power;
• demand-side management (for the benefit of supply);
• astute tariff rates to balance supply and demand;
• improved distribution lines and transformers;
• balancing real and reactive power; and
• preventing theft.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
In principle, any of these factors can be set as requirements for obtaining licenses in a regulated industry.
Such regulatory requirements are easier to apply in industries with horizontal unbundling and hence
opportunities for competition. In general, liberalization gives opportunities to readdress the balance of
priorities though:
• unbundling;
• management contracts;
• corporization within public ownership;
• independent power producers; and
• full privatization of all sectors.
Most of these factors require new or revised governmental Energy Acts, into which many aspects of sustainability and improvement can be included. Almost all of these developments can be structured for
industrial and commercial participation.
5.3 Matching supply to demand
To understand the role of energy in an economy, it is important to match supply to demand. There are
two scientific parameters used for such matching; one relates to how much energy passes (the extensive
amount, in units such as megajoule and kilowatt hour) and the other relates to what that energy can do
(the intensive amount, related to the mechanical work that could theoretically be obtained from that heat
source). This second parameter can be called the quality of the energy and relates to the service that it can
For example, energy can be available in a volume of warm water, but this is a very inefficient source to
power a machine25. Therefore, the energy in warm water may be large, but this energy is low-quality.
However, the same amount of energy may be obtained from electricity, which can be almost entirely
transformed into mechanical work by an electric motor. Therefore, electricity is high-quality energy. It
follows that we should always consider why energy is demanded and so match the supply to the demand
by quality as well as extent. In practice high-quality energy supply, such as electricity and petroleum, is
expensive per unit of amount, and low-quality energy, such as fuelwood, is cheaper, so we have a financial motive for correct matching.
If these principles are brought into energy planning and policy, then a better matched and improved
efficiency systems results. Examples are:
• avoid using electrical heating for domestic hot water supplies; provide such hot water from solar
water heaters with back-up from boilers. (See Box 4);
• reduce electrically powered air-conditioning by having shaded and passively ventilated buildings.
In dry climates, use evaporative coolers whenever possible, and not compressed fluid
air-conditioners which use about 20 times more electricity per unit of cooling;
• lighting is a high-quality service, so make sure the electricity intended for lighting does not
dissipate as heat, e.g. use fluorescent and not incandescent lamps, or better still,
light-emitting–diodes (LED);
• encourage safe bicycling for personal transport, rather than a fuel-powered vehicle;
• avoid unnecessary standby power, i.e. continuously powered remote switching devices, by having
easily operated mechanical on/off switches. In many countries, e.g. the UK, 10% of consumers’
electricity is used uselessly for such standby and other needlessly connected loads.
25 For instance, as found in the trial development of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (Gratwick, 2006)
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
Box 4. Solar Water Heating in Addis Ababa26
It is common for hotels and the wealthier residents of Addis Ababa to heat their domestic hot water
by electricity, which is an expensive and limited resource. (Most of the remaining population does
not have hot water supply). However, a majority of the premises can be fitted with solar water
heaters, costing, for a house, between about US$500 (locally made) and US$800 (imported, usually
from China). Larger systems are available for hotels, hospitals etc. These solar heaters provide
acceptable service throughout the year, with payback against electricity of about 6 years.
Initial local manufacture was by two charity organizations, but by 2006 there were more than 5 local
manufacturing companies, with several others engaged with imports. About 10 companies supply
and fit the installations. Skilled employment is provided by both manufacture and installation, and
the companies are profitable.
The removal of government subsidies from electricity supplies and increased price of generating fuel,
has led to an increase in the price of electricity. This in turn has increased the demand for solar
water heaters. Note that the removal of a subsidy has led to greater local economic activity and
greater sustainability.
It was a scientific mistake to use electricity for heating domestic water, and it was economically mistaken to subsidize that electricity. The use of solar water heaters allows: (i) electricity to be freed for
high-quality services in the economy, (ii) opportunities for manufacturing and business, (iii) more
local skilled employment, (iv) increased local cash flow from employment and profit, and, (v) less
carbon and other emissions from marginal electricity generation. Nevertheless, only about 10 per
cent of the population of this capital city can afford the initial capital cost of a solar water heater,
therefore institutional support by way of grants and small loans would benefit others. In addition, it
is essential that government agencies and trade associations produce technical standards for the
manufacture and installation of the solar devices, as indeed for electricity supplies.
26 [1. Module 16, Case Study]
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
5.4 Further initiatives
Governments alone cannot produce sustainable development; they must be supported by the public
sector. Success is most likely when corporate bodies begin to change their own perception of environmental responsibility, whilst at the same time improving their business. Some outstanding examples of
good practice are being claimed in Africa, with many related to agricultural industries. Box 5 gives an
Box 5: Corporate sustainable development
Unilever has major interests in sustainable tea growth and production (Unilever, 2003). Energy use
relates to electricity for machines and heat for drying. The company and its subsidiaries are prominent in explaining the need to generate their own electricity on tea estates, e.g. hydropower as in
Kenya, and their own heat from local sustainable tree plantations, e.g. with a balance of maintaining
natural forest and sustaining plantations of Eucalyptus. Many improvements can be made in the
drying processes, which results in less wood burnt. The public declaration of such aims to its shareholders is seen as giving authority and responsibility to the company.
Development funding and government regulation can play a significant role for improving energy efficiency in an economy. Such initiatives are beginning to be taken in Europe, especially when directed by
the European Commission and other European-wide initiatives. The EBRD funds development programs
in the recently independent countries of Eastern Europe (the transition countries)27. The Bank has a successful method to increase energy efficiency as it finances industrial, small and medium scale enterprises
(SME), municipal infrastructure and power sector projects. Central to the policy is a core team that vets
and assesses energy efficiency in all applications. Typical projects have been in district heating (not an
African problem), public transport and traffic management. The Bank has special energy funds within the
Sustainable Energy Initiative and the Multilateral Carbon Credit Fund. Development funding for and
within Africa has always had poverty alleviation and economic growth as the main objectives; energy efficiency has not been specified explicitly as an overriding objective. However, if the example of the ERBD
is followed, then this general policy will change. If capital costs are alleviated, then the efficient supply
and use of energy reduces energy payments, therefore generally reducing poverty, and frees money for
other initiatives, therefore generally contributing to economic growth. The introduction of policies to
reduce pollutant emissions from fossil fuels adds to the importance of energy efficiency.
27 See Box 23.4 of [12]
Regulation and Policy initiatives for Sustainable Energy in sub-Saharan Africa
6. Policy implications
Policy for innovation in energy supply and use is now affected by 3 main drivers:
1. Liberalization
2. Regulation
3. Sustainability
This chapter has considered how two key factors in energy supply, Renewable Energy and Energy
Efficiency, relate to these drivers and how progressive industry and business can participate. It is noticeable that all 3 drivers gelled into discernable policy objectives for many governments from about 1985,
being made statutory objectives from about 1990. The desire for liberalized, and therefore identifiable
and often competitive, services led naturally to more sophisticated and independent regulation; therefore,
these two drivers are closely linked. However, including sustainability objectives with liberalization and
regulation is not an obvious development.
On the supply side, fossil-fuels are not ultimately sustainable, their sources are not secure for importing
nations, often they are expensive and their emissions, especially carbon dioxide, need to be limited to mitigate climate change. Consequently, there is now a bias for improved efficiency and for renewable energy resources, which are infinite, derive from national and local resources, have technologies that are
becoming mainstream with a trend to reducing cost, and do not cause climate change. On the demand
side, greater efficiency in the use of energy reduces the pressure for supply and is financially beneficial for
For a government moving to liberalization of utility services and conscious of sustainability objectives, it
makes sense to use the regulatory authorities to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, alongside their responsibilities for regulation generally. Thus, there are good reasons why liberalization,
regulation and sustainability are closely linked.
National energy supplies can be classified as for fuels, heat and electricity. In all countries, electricity
supply is closely related to the provision of essential services and has the characteristics of a natural
monopoly, including supply from a grid. Therefore, governments have been closely involved in the
development and ownership of the electricity utility service. Such strong government presence is not so
apparent in the provision of fuels and heat, yet nevertheless governments are closely involved. As the
utility services have matured, governments have seen the advantage in disassociating themselves from
hands-on operation; for instance raising capital can be moved from taxation to private investment and
pressures to subsidize services are reduced. In addition, the electorate does not immediately blame
governments for failures of supply!
Most developing countries do not have the business and investment infrastructure to move immediately
to fully privatized utilities, despite pressure from international agencies, such as the World Bank, for this.
Nor are they directly part of international policies and treaties for the mitigation of climate change.
Therefore, the movement to liberalization, regulation and sustainability may appear somewhat tentative.
However, such judgment is hasty, since there are fewer opportunities than in the ‘intensive’ countries for
unbundling of services and the provision of services, e.g. electricity, to the whole population is far from
complete. Such developments in Africa must not be driven by dogma, but by careful preparation and
experience; thorough legislation, to both support and regulate competitive industry, is essential.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
It is into this situation that opportunities appear for increased use of new renewable energy resources and
for much improved energy efficiency. The technologies of renewable energy and energy efficiency are now
well established. The scale and diverse use of the equipment are appropriate for installation and management by individual companies and cooperatives; hence, the field is open for national industrial and
business growth. Regulatory administrations exist for transparency and fair market competition, so there
is a sympathetic ear to the needs of commerce.
It is misleading to see the liberalization and regulation of utility services as the cold hand of legalistic
dogma. Beneath the surface, radical change can occur to benefit both consumers and business alike. With
the inclusion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, there are open opportunities for national and
local scale enterprise.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This chapter has been prepared by Prof. John Twidell, AMSET Centre,
Horninghold, Leicestershire, LE16 8DH, UK, ([email protected]) in collaboration with the staff of
Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Unit, Energy and Cleaner Production Branch, Programme
Development and Technical Cooperation Division, based on UNIDO’s rich experiences.
(UNIDO, 2007a): Sustainable Energy Regulation and Policy-Making for Africa, UNIDO, United Nations Development
Organization, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division, Energy and Cleaner Production Branch, Energy
Efficiency and Climate Change Unit, Vienna. {Set of 20 Modules produced under contact by IT Power (UK) and the University
of Warwick (UK)}.
(Harrington et al., 2007): Harrington C., Murray C. and Baldwin B., Energy Efficiency Toolkit, Regulatory Assistance Project,
Jan 2007 (download pdf paper from www.raponline.org).
[3] (Hannah, 1979), Hannah L. (1979), Electricity before nationalisation – a study of th development of the electricity supply
industry in Britain to 1948, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
(Hunt et al., 1996): Hunt A. and Shuttleworth G. (1996) Competition and Choice in Electricity, John Wiley and Sons, England.
(Berg et al., 2000): Berg S.V., Memon A.N., R. Skelton R. (2000), Designing an Independent Regulatory Commission, Public
Research Utility Center, University of Florida.
(EIA, 2000): Data from the EIA of the U.S. DoE, http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/subafricaenv.html. Carbon emission data
are mostly for year 2000.
(Gratwick, 2006): Gratwick K., Ghanadan R. and Eberhard A. (2006) Generating power and controversy: understanding
Tanzania’s independent power projects, Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, vol 17, no. 4, pp 39 – 56.
Twidell et al., 2006): Twidell J.W. and Weir A.D.(2006) Renewable Energy Resources, 2nd Edition, Taylor & Francis, London.
(Dirk et al., 2006): Dirk Assmann, Ultrich Laumanns and Dieter Uh (Eds) (2006). Renewable Energy – A Global Review of
Technologies, Policies and Markets, Earthscan, London.
(Mallon, 2006): Mallon K., (2006) Renewable Energy Policy and Politics – a handbook for decision makers, Earthscan London.
(Ranganathan, 1992): Ranganathan V. (with A. Mbewe, H. Mariam, B. Rmasedi, L. Khalema and I.A. Ahmed),(1992) Rural
Electrification in Africa, Zed Books Ltd, London and New Jersey.
(Foster-Pedley et al., 2006): Foster-Pedley J. and Hertzog H. (2006) Financing strategies for growth in renewable energy industry
in South Africa, Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, vol 17, no. 4, pp 57–64.
(Williams et al. 2005): R, Williams, A. McKane, Zou Guijn, S. Nadel and J. P. V. Tutterow, The Chinese Motor System
Optimization Experience: Developing a Template for a National Program, UNIDO, Vienna. A – 1400, 2005
(Stern, 2007): N. Stern (2007) The Economics of Climate Change, The University Press, Cambridge, UK.
(Fritz, 2006): Fritz W.L.O. and Kahn M.T.E. (2006), Energy efficient lighting and energy management, Journal of Energy in
Southern Africa, vol 17, no. 4, pp 33 – 38.
(UNIDO, 2007b): Handy manual Series on Energy Consumption, UNIDO, Environmental Resources and their Management,
(Unilever, 2003): Unilever, Growing for the future-Journey to a sustainable future. See
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
Chapter 2
Environment, Energy and Cities:
Issues, Problems and Strategic Options
for Urban Settlements of the
Developing World
1. Introduction
As the world has moved into the 21st century, energy-related challenges have already grown quite severe
in cities throughout the world and in countries at all levels of development. From all corners of the globe,
city residents are exposed to unhealthy levels of energy-generated pollution. Urban emissions are also
having negative regional development impacts, reducing crop yields and forest integrity in wide areas
across North America, Europe and Eastern Asia. Furthermore, the greenhouse gas emissions generated in
the course of providing power to the world’s cities are contributing significantly to the problem of global
climate change.
At the same time that the negative environmental impacts of urban energy consumption are manifesting
themselves on local, regional and global levels, the demand for energy continues to grow. This relentless
growth in demand for modern energy resources is understandable in cities throughout the developing
world, where per capita consumption rates still remain comparatively low. Unfortunately, the environmental externalities generated by conventional energy systems are eroding the health and productivity of
citizens in many developing country cities, and so new paths towards more efficient and sustainable
patterns of energy consumption must be pursued in these areas.
It has been estimated that about three-quarters of the world’s commercial energy is consumed in cities.
More specifically, over 75 per cent of carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement manufacturing, and 76 per cent of industrial wood consumption, occur in urban areas. A primary function of the
world energy system is to provide urban settlements with massive quantities of electricity, petrol and heat
for use in commercial, transport and residential sectors (World Energy Assessment, UNDP, 2000).
Urban societies in developing countries are dual in nature: in some segments of the society, incomes are
quite high, and their energy-consumption patterns are similar to those of industrialized countries, with
increasing demand for high-intensity energy-consuming services, such as refrigeration, air-conditioning
and personal transport. For the remaining segments of society, which constitute the overwhelming majority of the population, consumption patterns are similar to those in rural areas. Indeed, almost a billion
urban residents live in informal settlements in developing country cities in conditions identical to or is
some cases worse than their rural poor counterparts.
Energy is a key input for meeting basic needs and for achieving socio-economic development goals that
include, inter-alia, fuel for cooking, heating and lighting in households, power for industry, and
petroleum products for transportation. The supply of and the demand for virtually every type of energy
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
generates varying degrees of environmental externalities that affect human health, ecological stability and
economic development. These effects can occur at the household, local, regional, national or transnational level.
There are approximately two billion people, who lack access to electricity, and a further two billion
depend on traditional fuels, such as wood and animal and crop waste, for cooking and heating. In Africa,
two thirds of the population does not have access to electricity. Over a billion of these reside in informal
settlements within developing country cities. For one-third of the world’s population, dependence on
traditional fuels results in a significant number of hours being spent each day gathering wood, primarily
by girl children and women, even in urban areas. In part due to poor infrastructure and prohibitively high
up-front costs, the poor often face much higher energy costs than the non-poor. This is compounded by
the limited access to appropriate financing schemes that can allow the poor to overcome the high-up front
costs of cleaner energy devices and appliances. Other important energy challenges facing the poor, include
low incomes that are not sufficient for the procurement of energy services to meet basic needs such as
sufficient energy to cook food, provide affordable transport, power pumps for potable water; sterilize
medical equipment; and, provide space heating.
Cities, with their high population densities, tend to concentrate environmental problems that elsewhere,
are otherwise geographically dispersed. A classic example of this is air pollution in cities where both point
(e.g. industrial emissions from smokestacks) and nonpoint (e.g., vehicle exhaust) sources are concentrated in a limited, densely populated geographic area. The degree of the problem varies with prevailing winds
and thermal stratification patterns, urban geography, levels of industrialization and motorization, and the
incidence of indoor as well as outdoor human exposure. It is important to note that the cause of many of
these problems may be urban but the impact can be felt both inside and outside the city. In addition,
ambient air pollution may affect the health of urban residents and damage the crops of farmers in rural
2. United Nations mandates for work in energy
Access to affordable, modern energy services is a pre-requisite for sustainable development and poverty
alleviation, and, more specifically, for achieving each of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Lack of access to reliable, safe and mostly environmentally –friendly energy is a strong constraint on
human development. Energy services can play a variety of direct and indirect roles to help achieve MDGs:
Access to energy facilitates economic development- access to energy means that value-adding income
generating activities are enhanced. Micro-enterprise/livelihood activities can be extended beyond daylight hours,
creating additional employment opportunities. Access to energy assists in bridging the digital divide.
• Access to energy reduces hunger and improves access to safe drinking water – energy services can
improve access to safe drinking water through pumping facilities.
• Access to energy reduces disease and reduces child mortality – energy is a key component of a functioning health system, through refrigerating medicines, sterilizing equipment and providing transport to clinics
• To achieve universal primary education and the empowerment of women – energy reduces the time
spent by women and children on basic survival activities (fetching water, firewood, cooking etc); lighting
permits improved levels of home study for children.
• More efficient use of energy promotes environmental sustainability – improved energy efficiency and
use of cleaner alternative forms of energy helps to achieve a more sustainable use of natural resources and
reduces harmful emissions.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
• Access to energy for affordable transport enhances urban mobility – improved urban mobility allows
better access to wider employment and other economic opportunities within the city.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), building on the outcome of the Ninth Session
of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD9), identified the following five key areas as critical to achieving the goal of energy for sustainable development:
• Increasing access to energy services, particularly for the poor;
• Improving energy efficiency;
• Increasing the proportion of energy obtained from renewable energy sources;
• Advanced energy technologies; and
• Reducing the environmental impact of transport.
Paragraph 145 of the Habitat Agenda states: The use of energy is essential in urban centers for transportation, industrial production, and household and office activities. Current dependence in most urban centres on non-renewable energy sources can lead to climate change, air pollution and consequent environmental and human health problems, and may represent a serious threat to sustainable development.
Sustainable energy production and use can be enhanced by encouraging energy efficiency, by such means
as pricing policies, fuel switching, alternative energy, mass transit and public awareness. Human settlements and energy policies should be actively coordinated.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly reiterated in its 56th session (2001) that mutually supportive efforts at the national and international levels are imperative in the pursuit of sustainable development,
which includes the provision of financial resources and the transfer of technology for the application of
cost-effective energy and the wider use of environment-friendly, renewable energy technologies.
Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, parties have agreed to stabilize greenhouse
gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference
with the climate system. As the global energy system is the major source of greenhouse gases, this commitment will have to be considered in the design of the future world energy system. The Kyoto Protocol
provides a first specific step in addressing the issue, building on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Progress is being made in forging the necessary will to tackle the energy problem at the appropriate levels.
In April 2006, for example, the Fourteenth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
(CSD-14) highlighted the value of networking amongst centers of excellence in the area of access to energy services so that these could support and promote efforts at capacity-building and technology transfer
activities, as well as serve as information clearing houses. The Commission agreed that lack of local capacity is a major obstacle to expanding energy services in the developing world, stating ‘it is important that
institutions, infrastructures, and human resources in developing countries be strengthened … through
international public and private cooperation that supports sustainable development objectives.’ CSD-14
also remarked that ‘information and knowledge sharing on technologies and policies facilitate efforts to
achieve energy for sustainable development’, and that ‘relevant information could direct decision makers
to suitable policy and energy supply options’. The lack of such information and knowledge sharing was
recognized as a barrier preventing countries from adopting new approaches in energy planning and technology applications.
The Fifteenth Session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD-15) which will take place
30 April to 12 May, 2007, is a unique opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the energy needs of
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
the worlds urban poor, particularly those residing in informal settlements. UN-Habitat must build on
the momentum created for enhancing access to clean, modern energy services by the urban poor residing
in informal settlements – momentum which has been created from our participation at CSD-14. No
other UN organization dealing in the area of energy for sustainable development has the particular mandate to specifically deal with the energy needs of the urban poor.
3. Historical patterns of energy production and consumption
in cities
Historically, cities throughout the world have been arenas of tremendous economic and social development. The higher densities of people and material resources found in urban areas allow significant gains
in productivity to be achieved, while reducing human impacts on natural ecosystems. These higher densities also make it easier to provide basic services to citizens, and as a result urban areas also have the potential to offer better health, education, sanitation and electrical services than are found in most rural areas.
From both a human development and environmental point of view, therefore, it makes eminent sense to
encourage the continued growth of high-density population centres — provided underlying developmental problems can be addressed.
However, urban structures affect energy requirements and consumption patterns in many distinct ways.
Low-income rural-migrant populations, generally used to relatively easy access to non-commercial fuels
in their villages, find it hard to secure such fuels when they migrate to cities and are often forced to buy
commercial fuels for the very first time and at great expense.
Traditional food processing and cooking are too time-consuming for most women who have to seek paid
work to earn the money necessary to purchase essentials: thus, an increasingly important activity in burgeoning urban agglomerations is the street sale of foods – often utilizing highly energy inefficient cooking appliances.
As a whole, global reliance on hydrocarbon resources has increased exponentially throughout the modern
era. Today, coal, oil and natural gas resources combined provide approximately 90 per cent of all world
commercial energy requirements. The non-hydrocarbon industries of nuclear energy and large-scale
hydroelectric power together provide most of the remaining 10 per cent. All alternative energy technologies combined (small hydro, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal) currently provide less than 1 per cent of the
world’s commercial energy; a sobering statistic for those concerned about the environmental sustainability of modern urban society.
4. The structure of urban energy use
Household energy
Energy is used in buildings for cooking, space heating/cooling and lighting, and also for productive
activities. The patterns of energy use within buildings vary a great deal according to use and location. In
residential buildings, household income and climate have major influences both on energy sources and
end-use patterns. In most low-income countries, a high proportion (up to 90 per cent) of the energy used
in residential building is for cooking. In poor urban communities, firewood alone often meets nearly all
the energy needs of households. In areas where there is a substantial annual heating requirement, coal is
often used, the combustion of which adds considerably to urban air pollution. Available information on
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
how households use energy is scarce and as a result, it is difficult to assess scientifically efficiency progress
in the past and to understand how efficiency increases could affect future demand. Even where data is
available on the energy use of the sector, the economic impact of household energy conservation cannot
be assessed, except in very general terms. Without such information, it is difficult for governments to
prioritize conservation programmes or allocate programme funds to those areas that promise the greatest
Embodied energy in buildings
The construction industry in the developing economies is facing an immense and apparently worsening
problem of required materials shortage aggravated by rising prices. In most countries, frequent shortages
have often led to further increases in prices and profiteering, thus marginalizing more and more people
beyond the affordability level. The consequent impacts are severe: skyrocketing housing costs and
expanding unplanned settlements in urban areas, and an ever-deteriorating housing quality in both urban
and rural settlements. Public policy and private investment should, together, facilitate an adequate supply of cost-effective building materials, construction technology and bridging finance to avoid the bottlenecks and distortions that inhibit the development of local and national economies. By improving the
quality and reducing the cost of production, housing and other structures will last longer, be better protected against disasters, and be affordable to low-income populations and accessible to persons with disabilities, which will provide a better living environment.
Businesses promote more and more the use of innovative composite materials based on local resources
from forestry, agriculture, natural fibres, plant materials, and other local resources like agricultural and
industrial wastes available within small geographical regions. Besides meeting the needs of housing
sector, the industrial production of the composite materials would greatly help in environmental protection, energy efficiency and employment generation in the manufacturing sector.
While the largest component part of energy consumption in the household and building sectors are
consumption from within buildings-in-use, the energy used in the production of buildings themselves is
a significant and a growing element of this total energy use. There are proven reasons for seeking to reduce
the energy “embodied” in buildings, which are mainly because of environmental considerations. In
general, the energy consumption in the production of buildings is a relatively small part of the total lifetime energy use, perhaps 10 to 15 per cent, if a lifetime of about 25 years is assumed. But much of this
lifetime energy use, particularly in developing countries, is in the form of cooking energy, over which the
initial design of buildings has little effect. The high proportion of the embodied energy in buildings (8090 per cent) is related to the production and transportation of energy-intensive building materials such
as cement, steel, bricks, concrete-elements, aluminium etc. Increasing the efficiency, of energy use in
building-materials production is, therefore, an essential prerequisite to reduce the cost of materials and to
arrest environmental impacts caused by excessive use of energy in the production process. Some strategies
to optimize the use of energy in the building materials production process include: careful study and
auditing of all kiln processes; use of low-grade fuels where possible, use of recycled materials; reduction of
transportation costs by expanding the small-scale sector; use of locally available and indigenous building
materials; use of solar energy or waste kiln heat in low-temperature operation, etc. (See Box 1).
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Box 1: ADAPT, Egypt
Between 1966 and 1986, 80 percent of the housing built in Egypt was shanty housing built by local
masons or the residents themselves. The “slum upgrading” market is thus a significant center of demand for
quality construction materials and techniques. ADAPT is working with low income communities to meet
this demand in a sustainable way. The organization uses local ingredients common to the ancient Egyptians,
along with treated waste products like rice straw, cement dust, and iron-fabric leftovers to produce environmentally-friendly building materials that are high quality (certified by the Egyptian government) and low
cost (30 percent below standard alternatives). ADAPT involves local youth in the material innovation and
production processes and trains them in design and construction—for example, using the traditional
Kasbah layout with small alleys for women, central courtyards, and double walls and ceilings to make
indoor spaces cooler. These youth then act as catalysts, spreading their skills in their communities. Two of
ADAPT’s early settlements in Algeria, totaling 220 units in 1985, have expanded to more than
20,000 units through this mechanism.
Source: UN-Habitat, Global Report on Human Settlements, 2003
Renewable energy technologies for human settlements development
The field of Renewable Energy Technology (RET), involving the use of sun, wind, hydro and biomass is
broad, complex, multidisciplinary and impossible to generalize. At the present state of development,
renewable sources of energy play a limited role globally but could play an important role locally, particularly within informal settlements in developing country cities. A general elaboration of the “state-of-theart” of renewable energy provision is also complicated by the fact that some technologies are mass-produced and widely used on a small-scale but remain at an early and experimental stage for large scale applications. This is primarily because the cost-effectiveness and hence the commercial viability of different
energy conversion technologies is strongly influenced by the scale of operation. It is well known that
economies of scale apply to larger systems, but the variation of economy of scale with size differs considerably for different technologies. Hence, some technologies become much more economical when scaled
up but others (like solar photo-voltaic) do not offer similar variations with size and, therefore, tend to be
most economically competitive initially for the smallest applications.
Currently, the most viable option for meeting the energy needs of the majority of urban poor in developing country cities is the rational use of modern biomass. To this end, conversion of biomass into gas,
through the use of digesters, and use of improved and more energy-efficient cookstoves are the most
effective ways of using this resource. The technologies of photovoltaic systems offer prospects for meeting
the lighting, telecommunications, refrigeration and other power needs of the rural poor in a cost-effective
and efficient manner in areas that are remote from national electricity grids. For households in urban
areas, the use of low-power energy-efficient appliances and the judicious substitution of cost-effective new
technologies for fossil fuels such as solar water-heaters and other space-heating and cooling devices, offer
opportunities to reduce the cost of energy services, whilst, at the same time, conserving resources.
An important constraint faced by most developing countries is that renewable-energy technologies
designed and developed in industrialized countries are often not compatible with the levels of managerial
and manufacturing skills available in developing countries. Another constraint is lack of information
about developments in renewable-energy technologies: this has greatly impeded investment in these technologies in developing countries. Public awareness about the use of renewable-energy sources, their costs,
benefits and reliability is very limited. Consequently, entrepreneurs are not motivated to venture into
investment in unknown technologies with uncertain market potential. The lack of financial resources, at
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
both the individual level and the governmental level, is another constraint to the propagation of technologies. The transition from a “non-cost” traditional fuel such as fuelwood or cow-dung to a modernized
renewable fuel, such as biogas, or to an energy-efficient wood stove requires an initial capital investment
on the part of the individual user which is beyond the capability of the urban poor. The attitude of key
policymakers towards renewable-energy technologies that ranges from caution to skepticism is another
hampering trend, which assigns a low-priority to renewables in national energy planning. Each of these
problems is of considerable economic and political complexity and unless initiatives are taken at the
national and international levels the inadequacy of existing technology-transfer mechanisms will remain
a barrier to the introduction of renewable-energy technologies.
Biomass already supplies 14 per cent of the world’s energy and the many future projects being assessed, if
implemented, could increase the role of biomass in the overall energy system. In Africa, biomass energy
accounts for 47 per cent of the total primary energy supply where it is the largest single energy source.
Biomass energy is likely to remain an important global energy source in developing countries well into
the next century. A number of developed countries also use biomass quite substantially, e.g., the United
States of America which derives 4 per cent of its total energy from biomass (nearly as much as it derives
from nuclear power), Sweden 14 per cent and Austria 10 per cent. Biomass is generally and wrongly
regarded as a low-status fuel, and rarely finds its way into energy statistics. Nevertheless, biomass can lay
claim to being considered as a renewable equivalent to fossil fuels. It offers considerable flexibility of fuel
supply due to the range and diversity of fuels that can be produced. It can be converted into liquid and
gaseous fuels and to electricity via gas turbines; it can also serve as a feedstock for direct combustion in
modern devices, ranging from very-small-scale domestic boilers to multi-megawatt size power plants.
Biomass-energy systems can increase the energy available for economic development without contributing to the greenhouse effect since biomass is not a net emitter of CO2 to the atmosphere when it is produced and used sustainably. It also has other benign environmental attributes such as lower sulphur and
NO emissions and can help rehabilitate degraded lands. There is a growing recognition that the use of
biomass energy in larger commercial systems based on sustainable, already accumulated resources and
residues, can help improve natural resource management. Integrating biomass energy in national energy
planning and policy-making on an equal footing with other energy sources will not be easy and will
require concerted action at national and sub-national levels. This will also require adopting measures to
modernize the traditional biomass sector, so as to make it sustainable. A reliable information base will
have to be developed on the supply and utilization of biomass energy in the country; the policy environment must be made responsive to the needs of the biomass-energy sector; research, development and engineering efforts will have to be stepped up in required areas; and the commercialization of biomass
technologies will have to be promoted through selective and well-targeted subsidies and fiscal and other
forms of incentives.
5. Linking energy with water and sanitation
service provision
There are many linkages between energy, water and sanitation services. From the supply side, energy has
been more market responsive resulting in frequent tariff increases, whereas water tariffs have not kept pace
with increasing demand. Unreliable power supply results in increased energy costs due to the need for
back-up power, and installation of protection systems to prevent damage to electrical systems. Inefficiency
in the operations of water utilities results in high levels of Non Revenue Water (NRW) and Unaccounted
for Water (UAW). The use of old equipment that is past its economic lifespan results in higher energy
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
costs and inefficiency in system operations. Lack of energy efficient system designs increases the
Operations and Maintenance costs for the utilities, while unreliable power supply may damage the
electrical installations in water supply and sanitation systems, thereby increasing their operational costs.
Low levels of awareness about energy costs within the utilities results in unaccountable cost items, as does
lack of awareness in utilities about the high energy costs for pumping and distribution of water.
Inadequate technical expertise for Maintenance and Operations within the water and sanitation utilities
results in sub-optimal operations, with higher energy consumption and higher costs.
On the demand side, unreliable service delivery by water, sanitation and electricity utilities results in higher operational costs, including pumping costs, costs of installing alternative power supply systems (backup supply), higher costs of vendor services, and higher costs of energy for fetching water. Moreover, unreliable service delivery by water, sanitation and electricity utilities has undesirable hygiene and health
implications. Often, there is also a lack of awareness among consumers about energy and water efficient
products (electrical appliances and sanitary fittings).
The linkages on the household and commercial user side are as follows: (i) Energy efficient electrical and
sanitary fixtures. (ii) Lack of awareness among users about water conservation. (iii) Lack of awareness
about the cost of water and sanitation services. (iv) Need for guidelines for energy efficient water supply
and sanitation practices.
Quite often, upwards of 50 per cent of total operating costs associated with small-scale water utility operations are the running costs of providing electricity to power water pumps. Reducing this burden either
through supplementing power provision through appropriate renewable energy technologies such as wind
and solar or by implementing cross-subsidy arrangements through municipally owned and operated water,
sewerage and power companies through cost-sharing mechanisms, is recommended. At the same time,
energy generation (and often electricity) can be realized through the utilization of “energy to waste”
schemes. Indeed, often-poor urban waste management is primarily due to the lack of sufficient resources
to collect and properly dispose of municipal waste. Generation of energy from this waste has the potential of greatly altering the situation. The income generated from the sale of energy produced from municipal waste would lead to a reduction in the net financial costs of waste disposal in most developing country cities. It may actually make the whole venture economically self-sustaining. Thus, municipal wastes
which are always a function of the size of the urban population will increase proportionally, thereby providing more raw material for the energy production processes. On the other hand, the exploitation of
energy from wastes will greatly reduce (by over 60 per cent) the amounts of urban wastes, which will need
to be disposed of.
6. Development constraints created by urban energy consumption
Overall, cities throughout the world are growing increasingly dependent on petroleum resources imported from a small number of regions. A number of oil-exporting countries have achieved impressive levels
of economic growth on the basis of this trade. However, cities are exposing themselves to substantial economic vulnerability by turning towards heavier reliance on imported oil supplies. Urban planners need to
recognize that the world’s production of oil is likely to reach its apex sometime in the next decade or two,
and once this occurs petroleum prices will become increasingly volatile. It would be shortsighted to construct urban infrastructure that is predicated on false assumptions about the availability of cheap and
secure oil imports, given these widely acknowledged resource constraints.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
While many people in the developing world struggle to gain access to modern energy and technologies,
urban residents in the global north are generally consuming energy resources at an unsustainable rate. The
high levels of energy use found in wealthy countries are the source of most greenhouse gases emitted into
the atmosphere today. In contrast, most developing country city residents produce relatively little GHG
emissions. Since these gases remain in the atmosphere for long periods of time, it should also be noted
that nations of the developed north have emitted most of the total greenhouse gases accumulated in the
atmosphere over the last two centuries.
At the same time as the environmental problems of conventional patterns of energy consumption are
becoming manifest, there is growing need for modern forms of energy in the developing world. To put
the challenge in perspective, consider that during the period 1970—1990 approximately 40 million
people per year gained access to modern energy services. Given the number of people currently in need
of service, combined with expected population growth, almost 100 million people would have to be
connected to modern energy systems each year in order to achieve universal access by around 2020. This
is certainly a daunting task, especially given tightening resource and environmental constraints.
Many of the people in direst need of access to modern energy systems are located in rapidly growing urban
settlements throughout the developing world. With diminishing traditional sources of fuel, the citizens of
medium and large cities often face escalating energy prices while they are forced to contend with the pollution generated by conventional energy industries.
Many of the most severe challenges confronting cities originate from the manner in which energy
resources are produced and consumed. While energy is a key input for urban development, virtually every
type of power generates varying levels of environmental problems. Some of these impacts are experienced
outside city limits. The harvesting of wood for use by impoverished city residents in Asia and Africa, for
instance, has led to extensive deforestation around numerous urban areas. Within cities meanwhile,
intensive levels of energy consumption are leading to unprecedented spatially concentrated forms of pollution, particularly along major transportation corridors.
7. Sustainable urban transport/Air quality/Land use
It has been estimated that more than 1 billion people throughout the world live in urban settlements
where air pollution levels exceed health standards. The human consequences of this energy-generated pollution can be quite significant. In the United States, for instance, it is thought that at least 28 per cent of
the urban population is exposed to harmful levels of particulates; a level of exposure that causes the premature death of an estimated 40,000 United States residents each year. Meanwhile, 46 per cent of the
United States urban population is exposed to unhealthy levels of ozone, which exacerbates respiratory and
cardiovascular diseases in a growing portion of the population. In European cities, conditions are equally
bad with high levels of energy-related pollution causing elevated cases of chronic pulmonary disease and
Meanwhile, in the developing world, conditions are even more extreme. In Mexico City, high levels of
pollution are estimated to cause over 6,500 deaths each year. Meanwhile, over 52,000 people in 36 Indian
cities are thought to have been killed by air pollution in 1995 alone. And in China, air pollution is estimated to cause from 170,000 to 280,000 deaths each year. In addition to the human toll registered in
these figures, there are growing financial costs as well. In developed countries, air pollution is estimated
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
to cost around 2 per cent of GDP; in developing nations such pollution can cost from 5 to 20 per cent
of GDP. On a global scale, the health costs of urban air pollution are thought to approach US$100,000
million annually (World Energy Assessment, UNDP, 2000).
Though the problems inherent in low-density, automobile-reliant cities are increasingly in evidence in
more developed countries and cities, this model of urbanization is being replicated in many other developed countries. One of the most salient features of life in the 20th century has been the rise of the private automobile, which has completely reshaped urban life. While exclusively the domain of developed
countries for decades, less developed countries have joined the same bandwagon and are suffering from
the same grave social and environmental consequences. Annual increases in rates of motorization in many
developing countries has approached 10 per cent — rates substantially higher than have ever been found
in countries like the United States, considered the bastion of private automobile ownership and use.
Changes in urban land use patterns can have important effects on the viability and attractiveness of the
modes of transport that are most important to the urban poor - non-motorized transport (walking,
cycling, animal traction etc) and public transport. These modes are vital to allowing low-cost mobility and
hence access to a range of urban opportunities for the poor, including a wider choice of housing. Certain
common trends in land use as cities motorize have a tendency to undermine these low-cost modes to the
detriment of the mobility of poor.
The result has been that energy efficiency gains have slowed or even been reversed in some transport and
residential sectors in numerous developed nations in recent years. As a result of these dynamics, the largest
per capita contributors to energy-related environmental problems continue to be affluent citizens living
in cities throughout the developed world. The primary responsibility for reducing such impacts therefore
should rest on those living in the wealthiest regions of the world economy. Still, there are also serious
energy-related problems emerging in cities in the developing world. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.6 millions deaths per year, of which 60 per cent are women and children, are associated with
indoor air pollution from the use of biomass. UN-HABITAT recent studies show that the urban poor and
especially slum-dwellers are particularly hard hit by lack of access to modern energy. They pay more for
their cooking, water and electricity than wealthier people connected to the service networks. They pay this
penalty because they are poor.
While cities in the developed world confront problems originating primarily from over-consumption,
metropolitan areas in the developing world face a much more complex set of energy dilemmas. On the
one hand, the vast majority of urban residents in cities throughout the Southern hemisphere suffer from
inadequate access to modern energy systems. On the other hand, even at low per capita levels of consumption many of these cities are generating very intense forms of pollution. There are a number of factors that are producing this unfortunate combination of low per capita consumption rates and high aggregate urban emissions throughout the developing world.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
Box 2: ACCESS AFRICA – Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) is carrying out a programme called Access
Africa that aims at promoting liveable, healthy cities by making sure transportation systems are designed for
all the people who use them. In Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, ITDP is working in the
following programme areas:
• International Bus Rapid Transit Programme, which aims at promoting BRT as a way to provide a
sophisticated, high-quality transit system at a fraction of the cost of other options. ITDP is working with
leaders in each country to support the development of formalized public transit, provide technical
assistance for the development of new systems, and secure funding for their design and implementation.
• The California Bike Coalition, which aims at improving the quality of bicycles available in sub-Saharan
Africa through a unique partnership with the international bicycle industry. By shouldering the risk of
importing the bicycle into Africa, ITDP has created a proven social enterprise that provides the local
bicycle industry with economies of scale, business development and product diversification. Member
retailers are given skills training and then accredited through a programme that includes quality standards
for bicycle assembly, repair and customer service.
• Improving Safety for Bicyclists and Pedestrians. It aims at promoting safe space for all modes of
transportation. ITDP is working with officials in each country to provide: safer and more attractive routes
for bicyclists and pedestrians; and bicycle master plans.
Source: (ITDP, Sustainable Transport, March 2007.)
8. Issues and options to meet the urban environmental
Household level
At the household level, urban dwellers in many cities are exposed to excess levels of indoor air pollution,
which results from lack of proper ventilation and incomplete combustion of biomass, coal, and other fuels
used to meet residential cooking and/or heating needs. Health effects include acute respiratory infection,
low birthweight, and eye problems. Impacts vary greatly according to cooking practices, fuel use, type of
dwelling and duration of exposure. The groups that are most at risk are women and children because they
are indoors and responsible for cooking in most cultures. Short-term options to address this environmental health risk include: (a) production and dissemination of more efficient cookstoves that are more cleanburning, (b) installation of chimneys to vent smoke from dwellings, and (c) consumer education about
the adverse health effects of indoor smoke inhalation. Longer-term approaches include the upgrading of
kitchens and heating systems; formulating pricing policies that result in energy conservation and substitution of cleaner fuels for cooking and heating; and tackling other sources of indoor pollution such as
cigarette smoke, hazardous chemicals, and radon.
Urban poverty strongly reinforces the social and environmental impact of energy use at the household
level. A study of low-income groups in Rio de Janeiro suggests that the poor do not have adequate information about, or access to, more efficient (less-polluting) equipment and fuels. Furthermore, because the
distribution network is less well-functioning or absent in the poorer sections of the city, those in poverty
are served by a parallel market in which they pay more than the well-to do, making it more difficult to
afford other available options. In addition, low-income families often settle in undesirable (but affordable)
sections of the city that may suffer from energy-generated pollution, e.g., near major roadways or factories. This increases their exposure to daily doses of pollutants as well as the risk of accidents.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Local level
There are two important issues that need to be addressed at the local level. First, those concerned with
energy and environmental matters in the urban context need to focus on problems where an identifiable
population is exposed to a significant threat. For example, when comparing emissions rates from a large
coal power station with those of smaller, decentralized woodburning plants, one needs to account for total
output of pollutants and impact on affected population. The large central facility may be located in a
remote, underpopulated, and well-vented- airshed while decentralized sources may be both more
numerous and much closer to population centres, thus exposing a large number of persons to emissions.
A recent study carried out in Bombay shows a clear spatial/population nexus for energy-based environmental problems. This issue can best be resolved through an improved understanding of the Importance
not only of volumetric measurements of pollutants but also their spatial locations, human health effects,
and economic/environmental costs.
The rapid growth of cities in Latin America, Africa and Asia has generated such high densities of people
that even modest levels of energy consumption at the individual level can translate into severe environmental problems. Unlike in large cities in the Northern hemisphere, local municipal agencies in the
Southern hemisphere are rarely able to mobilize sufficient resources to cope with these growth-related
challenges. In fact, budgetary pressures have forced many cities throughout the developing world to
reduce environmental expenditures in general, and energy management in particular, even as the scale of
the problems continues to expand.
The fact that certain large cities in the Northern hemisphere have had some success in confronting energy-related challenges indicates that population pressures can be managed. High population densities in
the Southern hemisphere, while certainly posing a significant challenge, are clearly not the sole factor
leading to problematic outcomes.
Of at least equal importance as population pressures, are the severe social inequalities found in cities
throughout the developing world. While privileged classes in the Southern hemisphere often replicate the
modern, energy-intensive lifestyles found in the developed world, substantial numbers of impoverished
urban inhabitants are forced to subsist on heavily polluting resources such as wood and coal. Public policy often exacerbates these inequalities. For instance, the limited subsidies for energy products provided
in many developing countries have been shown to benefit, wealthier residential or industrial groups, while
the truly impoverished typically pay high unit costs for resources purchased in informal markets. In short,
affluent urban consumers generally contribute disproportionately to pollution problems while poorer
residents are again subjected to higher levels of exposure to energy-generated pollution throughout the
developing world.
A final factor that contributes to energy-related difficulties in less affluent cities has to do with technological inadequacies found in the power sector. Electrical power plants currently in operation in the developing world, for instance, are estimated to be between 20 and 40 per cent less efficient than plants typically found in industrial countries. Transmission losses, meanwhile, are thought to lead to losses of another
20 per cent. This means that more than half the energy that is normally put to use in developed countries
is often lost in the developing world, though the environmental externalities are still being generated. In
the case of transport sectors, huge efficiency losses are again incurred because of old vehicles and congested roads. More seriously, the continuing use of leaded petrol in many developing country cities is causing neurological, cardiac and other health problems in urban residents.
Technological upgrading is sorely needed in energy sectors throughout the Southern hemisphere. The
dilemma is how this can be achieved. Some analysts believe that the development process itself will in42
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
herently address these issues. For instance, it has recently been suggested that a bell-shaped, Kuznets-type
curve describes the relationship between local pollution and levels of economic development. At very low
levels of development, poverty appears to limit the ability to pollute and so emissions rates tend to be low.
As industrialization and urbanization begin to accelerate, however, larger quantities of resources are often
consumed in relatively archaic, unregulated conditions and air quality tends to worsen. It is generally
thought that only once a city or country has reached higher levels of affluence, and social demands for
better qualities of life have been articulated, that resources will be mobilized to improve technological
systems and counteract the impact of pollution (World Energy Assessment, UNDP, 2000).
While the potential existence of this Kuznets curve has led some to assume that development automatically cures underlying environmental problems, the fact that the majority of the world’s urban residents
are located at the beginning of the curve has troubling implications. Unless concerted efforts are made to
bypass the curve, through proactive policies of technology transfer and careful regulation, the human and
environmental damage generated by urban energy consumption will escalate dramatically.
9. Cities and climate change
The combined effects of energy over-consumption in affluent cities and inadequate energy sectors in
developing cities are clearly producing serious pollution problems on local and regional levels. Though
the casual connections are less obvious, it is also known that urban settlements are contributing significantly to the problem of global warming.
Cities themselves are thought to be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. It is
expected that infectious diseases will proliferate in a warmer world, especially in dense urban settlements.
Regional temperature rises will foster more urban smog. Changes in precipitation will adversely affect
urban water supplies. An increase in extreme weather events will cause damage to urban infrastructure,
and a rise in sea levels will begin to threaten coastal cities throughout the world.
Given the likely consequences of climate change, urban managers throughout the world are facing a closing window of opportunity in which to undertake proactive strategies of damage control. As the financial
costs of global warming begin to mount, fewer and fewer cities will have the resources to foster the diffusion of new energy technologies that could reduce environmental impacts. The time for concerted action
is clearly upon us. But are there alternative energy technologies that could provide solutions to the energy-related developmental constraints that are emerging in both affluent and impoverished cities? A growing body of evidence suggests that the answer to this question is a tentative yes.
A variety of options exist to reduce municipal outputs of greenhouse gases in the developing world: (a)
Pricing energy products to cover their economic costs, thus encouraging conservation; (b) Removing
market imperfections that impede efficient energy use in households, industries, enterprises, transport,
and the public sector; (c) Reducing losses in the supply of energy, e.g., generation, transmission, and distribution losses to urban electricity consumers; (d) Promoting the substitution of cleaner alternative fuels
and technologies, e.g. crop residues for agro-industries and households, and natural gas in industry and
transport;(e) Improving transportation systems through pricing, investment, technological options, and
regulatory measures to reduce urban traffic congestion; and (f ) Managing peri-urban lands to maintain
green zones and increase forested areas that, through photosynthesis, are important sinks for CO2.
However, even if they were successfully implemented now, these measures would not preclude the
unavoidable need to develop urgent pro-poor adaptation measures in cities.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
10. Sustainable energy technologies appropriate for
urban applications
Advances in a variety of new energy technologies offer considerable promise for reducing pollution,
increasing efficiencies and broadening the resource base of urban energy sectors in countries at all levels
of development. The new energy systems that hold the most promise for enhancing sustainability include
small-scale hydroelectric, wind, solar modern biomass and fuel cell technologies. While the literature on
these new energy systems has generally highlighted the potential for their utilization in rural areas, it is
becoming clear that they can make a significant contribution in urban energy sectors as well.
A few of these new energy technologies are locationally restricted, but they could provide power to urban
areas when only short distance transmission lines are required. Small-scale hydroelectric stations, for
instance, offer one of the most benign forms of energy production available to the world. In contrast to
disruptive large-scale hydroelectric projects, small-scale systems allow electrical power to be generated
without significantly altering the flow of rivers. Wind systems offer similarly benign options for electrical
generation in areas surrounding cities. And large-scale solar arrays have been shown to be capable of generating electricity that can then be fed into utility grids. If development agencies, governments and corporations begin supporting such alternative energy systems, a more environmentally sustainable network
of facilities can begin to bring electricity to urban communities throughout the world in the coming
Urban areas have long benefited from preferential treatment in terms of energy provision. Indeed, inadequate access to modern energy services in rural areas is one factor prompting migration to cities in many
regions of the world. It is therefore important for policy makers to ensure that the benefits of new energy technologies are equitably shared by rural and urban settlements alike. Moreover, it is crucial that cities
begin reducing their burdens on rural areas by generating their own power. Urban-based solar, biomass
and fuel cell technologies offer opportunities to improve the self-reliance of urban energy sectors.
Solar thermal and photovoltaic systems designed for use in metropolitan areas have received increasing
attention in the last decade. In part, this continued growth is the result of public support. In the United
States, for instance, the Million Solar Roofs Programme has helped to foster the diffusion of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems in numerous cities. In Japan, the New Earth 21 programme has aggressively promoted solar system construction in urban areas. In Western Europe, publicly funded programmes
have supported the proliferation of photovoltaic roofs and building facades. Smaller government programmes in Brazil, China India, Mexico, and South Korea have fostered solar systems for domestic use
and export as well.
Of crucial importance, meanwhile, has been recent growth in private investments in solar systems. Indeed,
major multinational energy corporations are increasing their participation in solar power sectors. While
there are still many small manufacturing companies in solar sectors, the trend is towards greater involvement by sophisticated, high technology companies with access to the capital required to fully commercialize solar technologies. All of these initiatives are increasing the usable electricity and heat generated by
built structures in cities throughout the world.
Another strategy for expanding city-based energy production involves the utilization of modern biomass
technologies to turn waste materials into sources of useful power. The huge volumes of solid and liquid
waste generated by metropolitan areas throughout the world are replete with combustible resources.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
Urban waste contains large amounts of organic material, while landfills and sewage tailings spontaneously generate methane gas: a powerful greenhouse gas. These solid and gaseous materials can be fed into a
variety of incineration systems, thereby simultaneously reducing the volume of wastes while generating
heat and electricity from inexpensive, plentiful urban resources. Given this combination of advantages,
waste-to-energy projects have proliferated throughout North America, Western Europe and Japan.
Similar projects are underway in developing countries such as Brazil, China, Chile, Hong Kong,
Indonesia, and South Africa.
Greater use of urban-based solar and biomass technologies provides options to increase the efficiency and
reliability of local electrical grids that supply power to residential and commercial locations. Also, liquid
biofuel technologies are increasingly serving the energy-intensive transport sector, which generates a great
deal of pollution. The fuel cell and liquid biomass (ethanol or biodiesel), however, can be used to power
automobiles.. Given its remarkable flexibility, the fuel cell is emerging as a new energy technology with
tremendous potential applications in urban settings. More and more countries in Africa are investigating
the production and use of liquid biofuel to mix the fuel used in automobiles.
Comparative cost information gathered on different kinds of electrical generation systems reveal a closing
price gap between conventional and new energy systems. It should be noted that, for a variety of reasons,
these data on electrical generation costs must be treated with caution. To begin with, these cost estimates
are averages from many regions of the world and they are based on facilities with widely varying technologies and operating histories. Second, it is difficult to account for the effects of subsidies on generation
costs. Since it has been well documented that conventional power sectors receive extensive subsidies
throughout the world, it is likely that the generation costs shown for these sectors underestimate true
costs. Similarly, it is hard to factor in externality costs for conventional energy systems, again resulting in
an underestimation of true conventional energy costs. Even given these price distortions, however, it is
clear that wind, biomass, solar and fuel cell systems are approaching commercial viability in many markets throughout the developed and developing worlds.
The world commercial environment appears set at last to foster the expansion of new energy systems.
Although it is impossible to predict how quickly new energy technologies can spread, it nevertheless
appears that they are in a strong position to begin processes of rapid diffusion in the coming decades. A
variety of new energy technologies have clearly attained the engineering maturity required for use in many
different urban settings. Researchers at the World Bank, the World Energy Council, the International
Energy Agency and the United States Department of Energy have also gathered evidence indicating that
numerous alternative energy systems are approaching the price competitiveness required for large-scale
commercialization Indeed, in a recent analysis published by the World Bank it was argued that, given relatively moderate levels of public support, alternative energy systems could be providing 20 per cent of the
world’s energy by the year 2100.
Box 3: Wind generators for domestic use, Kenya
Craftskills Enterprises, a small engineering company based in Nairobi’s Kibera slums manufactures and
installs small-scale wind generators for domestic use to produce electricity for household needs. The windcruiser generators can provide enough electricity to run domestic lighting, television and radio, the fridge,
computers and other home appliances. It has installed over 50 wind generators so far in both urban and
rural areas. According to the manager, Simon Mwacharo Guyo, the price could come down dramatically if
the demand increases.
Source: UN-Habitat, Energy Advisor, 2007
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
11. Strategies for achieving reform in urban energy sectors:
some best practices
As the world enters the 21st century, the long-term viability of urban energy sectors throughout the world
is increasingly being called into question. If new generations of city residents are to be provided with
access to vital energy systems, and urban environments are to be simultaneously improved, at least three
underlying developmental challenges must be addressed. First, existing urban energy systems must be
reorganized in order to enhance efficiencies. Second, new energy technologies which minimize urban pollution, must be made widely available to cities throughout the world. And third, the inequalities embedded in the world energy system must be reduced.
It is only when local civic organizations and business interests participate in designing and implementing
reform agendas that efforts to achieve sustainability have a reasonable chance of success. Fortunately, it
would appear that policy reformers are taking these lessons to heart. Indeed, in the field of urban management there has been a proliferation of programmes intended to foster public-private coalitions and
enhance cooperation between local, national and international organizations. Given innovative efforts
such as the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), Cities for Climate
Protection Campaign, the Clean Cities Programme and the Local Agenda 21, among others, it appears
that the institutional environment is at last favouring participatory approaches to reform. The achievements of some of these coalitions will be highlighted as we turn to a review of contemporary initiatives
that are underway to improve urban energy sectors.
Although new energy technologies can play a role in improving urban sustainability, energy efficiencies
can also be enhanced at the city level by reorganizing urban services and directing growth in specific directions. Perhaps the best example of this strategy can be found in the city of Curitiba, Brazil. Urban planners working in close consultation with local residents and businesses, began by designating a number of
transport corridors that ran along the axes of the city as open only to authorized buses. These corridors
substantially improved the efficiency and reliability of public transport, resulting in a very high level of
usage. Furthermore, this coordinated planning allowed real estate developers to build new properties in
specified locations, with the confidence that the public would have easy access to their commercial and
residential areas on the transit lines. These low-cost strategies have resulted in improved transport efficiencies and lower rates of urban pollution in Curitiba. Many other cities, including Copenhagen, Portland,
Singapore, Surabaya, Toronto and Zurich, have pursued similar strategies of reorganizing existing urban
areas in order to improve transport efficiencies.
It is also possible to upgrade energy systems, thereby achieving higher efficiencies and lower environmental impacts. For instance, emissions from urban transport sectors can often be reduced by shifting to alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, ethanol and biodiesel. This is precisely the strategy that will be pursued in Hong Kong, where extremely high levels of ground-level pollution prompted taxi and truck drivers to organize a protest in which they demanded that city officials
accelerate conversion to liquefied petroleum gas. In another example of system upgrading, existing electrical power plants can often be transformed into cogeneration systems that make more effective use of
the large amounts of heat generated in the process of producing electricity.
Many cars already on the road in the world’s cities can burn advanced biofuels. Brazil has already vastly
reduced its oil imported and three-fourths of Brazil’s new cars can burn either pure ethanol or pure gaso46
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
line. Other countries are following their lead. For example, Sweden plans to be oil-independent by 2020,
chiefly via ethanol made from forest wastes.
UN-Habitat remains committed to exploring the economic, social and environmental impacts behind the
use of more sustainable biomass use, including ethanol and other bio-fuels. We look forward to working with the Brazil, one of the world’s leading proponents and users of the various related ethanol technologies to ensure wider adoption, particularly in more developing countries and cities. Bio-diesel systems
using vegetable oils such as jatropha oil cause less pollution. Mali, a country without oil reserves, has started production to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuel. With a grant of 4 million US dollars,
Mali plans to have a number of cars running on bio-diesel by 2009. The president of Mali recently inaugurated the first village electrified with jatropha oil in Keleya (3,000 inhabitants). The project uses a modified diesel engine to drive a generator that provides 10 hours electricity daily.
The virtue of these strategies of system upgrading is that they can often be carried out by local municipalities, at quite moderate cost. Consider for instance, the achievements of the ICLEI. The ICLEI consists of over 300 cities in all regions of the world that are committed to reducing their carbon dioxide
emissions. At the 1997 Kyoto Climate Change Summit, the ICLEI reported that these cities had together succeeded in reducing carbon emissions by more than 41 million tons. Moreover, it was shown that in
nearly every case these reductions were associated with an improvement in the local economy. Many
other urban coalitions, including the United States Clean Cities Programme and the European EnergieCités project, are having similar success in improving efficiencies and reducing energy-related pollution
at little or no cost.
In addition to upgrading existing energy systems, it will also be necessary to accelerate the diffusion of
new energy technologies to urban areas throughout the world. As discussed in the previous section, a
variety of innovative energy systems have reached the engineering maturity required for successful utilization in metropolitan regions. The challenge now is to foster commercial expansion in new energy sectors.
To accomplish this, fair market conditions must first be introduced into energy industries. Currently,
decentralized energy providers are generally prevented from connecting to power grids. Opening utility
grids to small-scale electricity producers would reduce one institutional barrier that has inhibited the
expansion of alternative energy sectors in many countries. In Africa, no countries have adopted an aggressive policy to even encourage self-producers of energy.
More importantly, the massive subsidies provided to conventional fossil fuel and nuclear power sectors
must be substantially reduced. While removing subsidies is often politically difficult, it is important to
note that these subsidies tend to benefit large industrial producers and consumers rather than the truly
impoverished. It will then be equitable to provide the same level of subsidies to RET developers and users.
Once the commercial playing field is leveled in these ways, private sector dynamics can begin to foster the
expansion of new energy systems in cities throughout the world.
There are other market-based mechanisms that are likely to provide additional support to environmentally friendly energy systems. For instance, emissions trading schemes are already encouraging private companies to invest in domestic acid rain-reduction technologies in North America. Similar agreements show
promise on the international level. The Prototype Carbon Fund, an emissions trading system administered by the World Bank that focuses on renewable energy systems, attracted more private investments in
its first six months of operation than had been expected for its entire first year of operations. The Joint
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Implementation and Clean Development Mechanisms, meanwhile, should facilitate the international
transfer of new energy systems; under the provisions of these agreements companies headquartered in
developed countries will be able to get credit for emissions reductions they achieve by investing in new
energy ventures in developing countries.
While these market-based strategies are certain to be important components of any global effort to accelerate the diffusion of new energy technologies, by themselves they are not likely to represent a
sufficiently robust policy response. In part, this is because emissions trading mechanisms may allow cities
that are currently over consuming resources to purchase relatively inexpensive permits and thereby continue such behavior. What is needed as well is an influx of public and private investments that can finance
the construction of new energy infrastructures. Unfortunately, at present, the level of funding for new
energy projects does not appear to be adequate to the task.
Since the economic crisis of 1997-1999, governments throughout the world have sharply scaled back public funding for energy infrastructure development. In place of public financing, it has been hoped that
energy sector restructuring would prompt private companies to increase their investments in energy projects. While a few countries in Latin America have seen modest growth in private investments, the vast
majority of cities throughout the world have been forced to contend with declining public and private
energy sector investments.
While a contraction in energy-related investments by national governments, private companies and multilateral development agencies has been occurring in recent years, it is expected that this trend will eventually reverse itself and a new round of financing will become available for energy development projects.
Once this occurs, it is likely that a substantial portion of these new resources will be utilized to expand
sustainable energy systems. A variety of international mechanisms, such as the Global Environment
Facility and the Clean Development Mechanism, are now available to utilize capital resources more
effectively. National governments, under moderate pressure from the Kyoto Accords, are also committing
themselves to pursuing emissions-reduction strategies that favour new energy technologies.
And city-level coalitions such as the ICLEI and Local Agenda 21 have proved to be capable of spearheading innovative energy reforms in many metropolitan regions. In short, the policy environment appears to
be at last to favour true changes in urban energy industries in urban centers throughout the world.
There still remains, of course, uncertainty regarding how to reform the severe inequalities in energy consumption that are embedded in the contemporary world energy system. As shown, high-income nations
consume a disproportionate share of the energy resources available for human use. These consumption
practices cannot be universalized without causing rapid environmental crises at regional and global levels.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
12. Conclusions and policy guidelines
Most of the commercial and non-commercial energy produced today in developing countries, is used in
and for human settlements, and a substantial percentage of it is used by the household sector. Developing
country cities are at present faced with the need to increase their energy production to accelerate development and raise the living standards of their populations, while at the same time reducing energy production costs and energy-related pollution. Increasing the efficiency of energy use to reduce its polluting
effects and to promote the use of renewable energies must be a priority in any action taken to protect the
urban environment. The urban sector, being the dominant sector of commercial energy use and a major
sector in the use of biomass fuels, will have to take a leading role towards increasing energy efficiency. This
will require major policy changes from “business as usual” to imaginative innovations in lifestyle, energy
use and energy policy planning to re-orient the current focus on energy supply to an end-use oriented
approach, thus contributing to sustainable human settlements development goals.
Recognizing that a comprehensive approach for the promotion of sustainable energy development and use
and to extend the provision of more energy-efficient technology and alternative/renewable energy for
human settlements and to reduce negative impacts of energy production and use on human health and
on the environment (including promoting efficient and environmentally sound transport systems), UNHabitat has identified three key prerequisites which are crucial to the successful implementation of energy-related action plans.
These are:
• Understanding the problem, with a view to improving policy-making and for building capacity to
plan and implement responses to the urban environmental challenge;
• Establishing an enabling policy environment, that takes into account the full range of issues and
options, the special needs and abilities of those affected and the key actors, and provides an optimal
mix of regulatory and incentive-based actions in the appropriate urban context;
• Capacity-building, based on an institutional strategy that mobilizes public support and broadens
decision-making processes, and develops the managerial, technical and financial capacities of those
responsible for the planning and implementation of actions.
To improve policy-making so as to better manage urban energy-use related environmental problems, planners and policy-makers need informed analysis based on adequate data. For example, it is not enough to
know qualitatively the energy-related environmental impacts in the urban sector. The magnitude and the
significance of these impacts must be assessed and physical impacts will have to be converted into economic costs to assess which ones require priority attention.
Urban energy policy-making will require a multidisciplinary perspective, incorporating urban, transportation, and health planning. Urban planning needs to incorporate the environmental dimensions of energy
use in its analyses. How this is done in practice will vary depending on the municipal, regional, and
national configuration of actors and institutional responsibilities. Regardless of where planning is sectorally located, decision makers should be clear about the environmental tradeoffs that are involved in policies
and programmes that involve urban energy use.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Policies and programmes that permit improved energy efficiency will be an important first step in dealing with environmental problems stemming from urban energy use. By investing in efficiency, developing countries can stretch the energy services from existing supply capacities free up capital for needed
investment in the sector, and reduce CO2 emissions.
A serious obstacle to improving energy efficiency in the urban sector lies in the institutional structure of
energy decision-making. Access to information and access to capital are not concentrated in the hands of
energy users, but in the supply-side of the energy equation. Utilities make supply-side investment decisions, builders determine the appropriate level of building insulation, appliance manufacturers determine the energy efficiency of their products, and none of them pay the energy bill. Energy and product markets also fail to capture externalities that are borne by others. This is a challenge that must be met
by new and innovative policy initiatives.
Tariffs, as a policy instrument have been used successfully in some developing countries to promote environmentally cleaner fuels like LPG in household-use and unleaded gasoline in automobiles. At the same
time, such subsidies have often been criticized for breeding inefficiency. Nevertheless, there is a growing
recognition of the efficacy of incentive-based economic instruments for policy implementation. They can
reduce excessive reliance on regulation and investment programmes to control pollution and stimulate
Concerted action will be required at all levels to put renewables in the national energy mix, but success
will primarily depend on the abilities of developing countries to support private renewable-energy
investors through selective and well-targeted subsidies, fiscal and other forms of incentives and innovative
venture capital schemes to speed up commercialization of renewable energy technologies. The private
sector has been and will remain a key driver behind the successful diffusion of clean energy-related technologies. UN-Habitat must work with private sector companies and government regulators to ensure an
open and level playing field in terms of market-entry into the sustainable energy field.
Implementing urban environmental strategies to tackle energy-use related problems will require integrating environmental considerations into existing responsibilities, initiating new environmental actions or
programmes that address critical problem areas and mobilizing financial resources to perform the related
tasks. UN-Habitat will be working with a variety of UN partners including but not limited to UNDP,
WHO, UNIDO and UNEP in the development and implementation of plans, programmes and projects
in the area of improving access to clean modern energy for the urban poor.
It will be expedient for most cities to build on existing structures and capacities to meet new environmental responsibilities rather than developing new institutions or authorities. The principal capacity-building
tools include training, technical assistance, private sector participation, public information and outreach
programmes. A participatory approach with end-user involvement will be crucial to successful formulation, implementation and follow-up of projects and programmes.
Environment, Energy and Cities: Issues, Problems and Strategic Options for Urban Settlements of the Developing World
For most developing country cities, capacity-building will be a long-term and dynamic process, refining
and strengthening existing strategies, skills and capabilities. External assistance will be crucial in building
the necessary capacity to plan and implement environmental strategies at local level. Principal areas where
such support should be considered are: (a) environmental research and policy analysis needed to formulate urban environmental strategies and action plans at local level; (b) policy reform, institutional development and resource mobilization; and (c) financial support for improving efficiency of urban energy
services, and for the promotion of renewable energy technologies.
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
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Chapter 3
Power Sector Reform in Africa:
Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability
of the Sector
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
1. Introduction
Since more than a decade and half, a number of African countries have embarked on implementing power
sector reform programmes in a bid to address the deficiencies in the management and operations of their
power utilities. The rationale for power sector reforms was to: (i) improve the technical, commercial and
financial performance of utilities; (ii) boost sector cash flow and enhance utilities’ creditworthiness; (iii)
facilitate mobilization of resources for capital investment on a commercial basis, thereby releasing public
funds for other investments; and (iv) extend access to electricity to poor and rural communities.
However, one of the most critical drivers for power sector reform, which is linked to lack of capital to
expand and rehabilitate existing systems, is probably pressure from the development finance institutions
including the World Bank. Most African countries have thus decided to embark on reforming their power
sectors following the announcement of the 1993 World Bank’s Electric Power Lending Policy calling
developing countries to demonstrate a clear indication to implement comprehensive power sector reform
programmes as a precondition of the Bank’s continued assistance in the sector.
Under this Bank’s new policy, developing countries were invited to:
• Establish transparent regulatory processes;
• Commercialize and corporatize the power enterprises;
• Allow for importation of power services in some cases; and
• Encourage private investment in the power sector.
As a follow-up to its new electric power lending policy, the World Bank Energy Sector Management
Assistance Programme (ESMAP) organized a symposium on “Power Sector Reform and Efficiency
Improvement in sub-Saharan Africa” in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 1995 with a view to
addressing the problem of inefficiencies in operations and management of the power utilities. The purpose of the symposium was to provide an open forum in which high-level decision-makers in the
Ministries of Finance and Energy of sub-Saharan African countries, along with the utility managers, could
critically and cooperatively examine the issues and challenges facing their power sector. Senior officials
were able to conduct extensive discussions on planning and implementing the best sector reforms and efficiency improvements.
In a report published in 2004 (Reyes et al, 2004), the World Bank recognizes that it “underestimated the
complexity of the reforms needed and the time required for those reforms to mature and achieve lasting
and equitable country-sector outcomes”. The report also stated that the Bank “mostly advocated privatization and private sector participation” rather than the staged approach called for in its 1993 Electric
Power Lending Policy. It was also recognized that much work remained to be done to integrate poverty
reduction and environmental mainstreaming into the design of power sector reform and PSDE strategies,
which to date have focused mostly on sector efficiency and macro-fiscal objectives.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
It is therefore not surprising that a number of recent global studies, which also considered the socio-economic impacts of power sector reforms in some sub-Saharan African countries, revealed that few of these
reform initiatives have not resulted in significant improvement in the provision of electricity services to
the poor, especially with regard to rural electrification. In addition, some analysts contend that, although
power sector reforms have produced positive outcomes in a few sub-Saharan African countries, there is
some evidence that in many countries, far from reducing energy poverty, market-oriented reforms in particular may have increased energy poverty.
Yet, some proponents of the market-oriented power sector reforms have argued that by making utilities
technically and financially efficient, power utilities would be then able to afford provision of electricity to
the poor. However, when one compares the current pace of electrification with population growth rates
in sub-Saharan Africa, it appears that the region will be the only region in the world whose population
without electricity will increase by 203028.
It is against this background that ECA decided, in partnership with the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), to carry out within UN-Energy/Africa framework the study on “Making Africa’s
Power Sector Sustainable”. While there is a growing number of studies of power sector reforms in Africa,
most publications focus on the economic impacts of reforms, few assess the social impacts, and almost
none analyzes in a comprehensive manner the full impact of reforms on the sustainable development
objectives of African countries. Therefore, the study referred to in this paper, assesses the socio-economic
and environmental impacts of power sector reforms especially on the poor in fourteen selected countries
and uses the results of the assessment to analyze the extent to which reforms have contributed the sustainability of the power sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The findings and recommendations of the study served
as a basis to propose policy guidelines for ensuring the sustainability of the reforming power sectors in
2. Overview of power sector reform in Africa
2.1 Overview of the African power sector
The African power sector is characterized by small systems, with over three quarters of the continent’s
installed capacity coming from South Africa and North Africa. The installed capacity of most sub-Saharan
African countries ranges from some 10 MW to 2,000 MW with the exception of South Africa with more
than 40,000 MW, Nigeria with more than 5,000 MW and DR Congo and Mozambique with more than
2,000 MW. In addition, only 14 out of the 53 African countries (the five North African countries and
eight sub-Saharan African countries) have an installed capacity of 1000 MW and above. These include
the five North African countries of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia; and nine sub-Saharan
African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia
and Zimbabwe). This means that over 80 per cent of sub-Saharan African countries have small systems
with less than 1000 MW of installed capacity. It should be mentioned that, in all countries, the effective
power capacity are only fraction of the installed values due to diverse causes, including mostly maintenance, faulty design factors, and poor operation conditions.
The African power sector is also overwhelmingly dominated by conventional thermal power generation
due to large coal-fired power plants in Southern Africa and large oil- and gas-fired power plants in North
Africa and Nigeria. Thermal power generation accounted for 80.4 per cent of Africa’s total electricity production in 2004, while hydropower generation contributed 16.5 per cent, nuclear power 2.5 per cent and
renewable energy sources 0.6 per cent (IEA, 2006).
28 The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that close to half of the population living in sub-Saharan Africa (about 650 million
people) will have no access to electricity by 2030.
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
Total Africa’s electricity production amounted to 539.4 TWh in 2004. South Africa and the five North
African countries of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia accounted for close to 80per cent of this
total. On the other hand, Nigeria accounted for 3.75 per cent of the total. This means that the remaining 46 sub-Saharan African countries (excluding South Africa and Nigeria) totaled 89.4 TWh or only
16.5 per cent of Africa’s total electricity production (IEA, 2006).
Total Africa’s electricity consumption was also overwhelmingly dominated by South Africa and the five
North African countries which accounted for 80 per cent of the 477 TWh of Africa’s total electricity consumption in 2004. Nigeria accounted for 3 per cent of this total. This means that the 46 sub-Saharan
Africa (excluding South Africa and Nigeria) accounted for only 17 per cent of the total.
2.2 Barriers to the performance of the power sector in Africa
The performance of any power sector can be broadly categorized into: (i) technical performance; and (ii)
financial performance.
Technical performance
(i) Electrification access levels
National electrification access levels in many sub-Saharan African countries are very low and are estimated at less than 30per cent. Rural electrification access levels are even much lower with the majority of the
countries recording levels of less than 10 per cent in the rural areas. In some least-developed countries,
rural electrification access levels can be as low as 1 per cent or less (e.g. Chad).
(ii) Electricity consumption
The average electricity consumption per capita in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is estimated to be about 135 kWh. This level is well below the figure of 4976 kWh per capita for South Africa or
even 1058 kWh per capita on average for North African countries. Compared to northern African countries and South Africa, many sub-Saharan African countries register electricity consumption levels well
below 100 kWh per capita, particularly in West Africa and the Great Lakes regions. In some countries,
it is reported that the per capita consumption of electricity has been declining since population growth
rates have been higher than electricity production increase rates (IAE, 2006).
(iii) System losses
Partly due to poor maintenance on the transmission and distribution system, many countries in subSaharan Africa are characterized by high system losses that can be as high as 41 per cent when compared
with the international target of about 10 per cent to 12 per cent. High levels of system losses not only
further constrain the amount of electricity delivered but also affect the financial performance of the power
Financial performance
One of the major drivers for power sector reforms in almost all reforming countries in sub-Saharan Africa
has been the poor financial performance of their power utilities. Prior to reforming their respective power
sectors, a sizeable number of utilities recorded a string of loss-making experiences. By reducing the high
system losses and improving electrification access levels as well as applying higher tariff levels, electricity
utilities should be able to realize higher revenue levels. Tariff reforms will particularly continue to play a
significant role in the profitability of electricity utilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
2.3 Overview of the status of reforms in Africa’s region
Reform options
The major reforms that have been taking place in Africa have involved structural changes and ownership/management changes, including privatization. Structural changes refer to the process of unpackaging vertically integrated utilities into separate generation, transmission and distribution entities (vertical
unbundling) and conversely unpackaging national utilities into smaller utilities (horizontal unbundling).
On the other hand, management/ownership changes involves the following options:
• Commercialization/corporatization of the power utility while leaving its ownership in the public sector and its management with managers under performance contracts;
• Giving responsibility to the private sector to run the public utility under management contracts,
including operations and maintenance expenditure;
• Allowing the private sector to own and operate specific new generation facilities using independent
power producers (IPPs) under long-term concessions; and
• Allowing the private sector to take full responsibility for operation of existing assets and for investment, whether through a long-term concession or through full change in ownership.
In terms of structural changes, some countries such as Kenya have opted to only unbundle the generation
segment, while others such as Uganda and Zimbabwe, have taken the extreme option of completely
unbundling the entire formerly integrated utility into generation, transmission and distribution.
However, horizontal unbundling has been effective in the distribution segment of the electricity supply
industry of South Africa and Namibia with the creation of regional electricity distributors (RECs).
The most common privatization path undertaken by most African countries in power sector reforms has
been the commercialization/ corporatization, management contract and stop at allowing the entry of
independent power producers (IPPs). However, with the private sector participation in the electricity supply industry, there has been need to establish a legal and regulatory framework to safeguard the interests
of all stakeholders (i.e. the government, the private investors, the power utility and consumers) by enacting new electricity acts/laws and establishing independent electricity regulatory authorities.
Status of reform implementation
(i) Commercialization/corporatization
Commercialization and corporatization of power utilities in many African countries have often involved
awarding management contracts to private managers as a means to improve efficiency and profitability of
the utilities. The foreign firms involved in management contract in Africa have mainly been dominated
by French entities. However, South African firms (Net Group Solutions and Eskom Enterprises – a subsidiary of the South African utility, Eskom) have recently begun showing interest in the African power
utility management contract market. South African-led management contract initiatives are now underway in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania.
Commercialization/corporatization has also involved reforms in the tariff setting process. The resulting
increase in tariff levels was expected to help achieve the following objectives: (i) to recover the cost of electricity generation, transmission and distribution; (ii) to fairly and equitably spread the above costs to consumers based on the true cost of service delivery, consumption levels & patterns, and affordability to pay;
and (iii) to promote the efficient use of electricity.
To mitigate the negative impact of tariff increase on the poor, some countries have adopted a tariff structure that provides for a lifeline tariff for the first 50 kWh aimed at the poor. South Africa has made a step
further by introducing a new tariff structure that provides for basic free electricity services amounting to
50 kWh of electricity per household per month.
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
(ii) New/Amended electricity act/law
In the countries covered in the ECA/UNEP study, the Electricity Act often provides the legal and
regulatory framework. In these countries, the legal and regulatory framework was originally designed for
state-owned power utilities, with little or no provision for private sector participation. Recently, with the
exception of Tanzania, all other countries have amended their Electricity Acts leading to a number of
important regulatory changes.
The key changes that have taken place include:
• redefinition of the state-owned power utility from a welfare-driven government agency to a limited
liability commercial entity and providing for its unbundling and privatization;
• dismantling the monopoly of the state-owned power utility to encourage private participation, specifically in electricity generation and distribution; and
• minimizing direct intervention of the Government by shifting its role of policing the electricity sector from the Ministry to an independent Electricity Regulatory Body/Agency.
(iii) Establishment of electricity regulatory agencies
The establishment of independent regulatory bodies for the power sector alongside the
amendment/enactment of new Electricity Acts is the second most desirable reform options implemented
in most countries. However, although the regulatory bodies are expected to be independent, past developments in some countries cast doubt over the autonomy of these bodies, notably in Kenya, Malawi and
Uganda. But it is to be noted that delays in putting in place electricity regulatory agencies may result in
preventing the governments to be provided with advice needed to take informed decisions in such matters as awarding concessions/licenses for private participation into the development, management and
operation of the power sector.
(iv) Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
Independent Power Producers (IPPs) constitute an important form of private sector participation in
Africa’s power sector. With demand outstripping supply in many African countries, independent power
projects are expected to become a major source of new power generation capacity in these countries. In
this regard, it can be noted that less than half of the countries covered in the study succeeded to attract
private investors in the development of IPPs. Côte d’Ivoire succeeded to attract IPPs totaling more than
500 MW (210MW for CIPREL and 300MW for Azito) during a 5-year period between 1994 and 1999.
Other countries that succeeded to attract IPPs include Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania. However,
it is worth noting that some countries have been facing problems with regard to win-win power purchase
agreements (PPAs) and to easily comply with the fuel supply agreements for fossil fuel based power plants.
Inefficient or inexistent electricity regulatory authorities have also contributed to the mixed results of
IPPs’ experience in these countries.
(v) Independent Power distributors (IPD)
In the countries covered in the study and indeed in the sub-Saharan African region, very few independent power distributors (IPDs) have been established. The only countries where IPDs have been established are Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Ghana. In other countries, privatization of
power utilities through long-term concessions for the operation and management of power system assets
and for the supply of electricity is facing the risk of being renegotiated or terminated, as this has been the
case in Senegal and Mali in 2000 and 2005 respectively. It is expected that the developments in Senegal
and Mali might deter other countries in the region from privatizing their utilities. On the positive side,
Côte d’Ivoire appears to be a success story of power sector reform in Africa since it was able to attract IPPs
for 510 MW and to renew the concession awarded to the Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE) for
another 15-year term.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
3. Key findings and lessons learnt
Power Sector Reforms in Africa are at various stages in different countries, and drawing general conclusions is not an easy endeavour. However, the findings of this study converge with other previous works on
some key findings and lessons that constitutes overall trends of the various country experiences.
3.1. Key findings
The first key finding is that power sector reforms were not explicitly designed to ensure socio-economic
and environmental sustainability of the power sector. They were primarily designed to bridge short-term
generation shortfalls and enhance the financial health of state-owned power utilities. It is, therefore, not
surprising that they have marginally contributed to socio-economic and environment improvements in
the power sector.
This study regarded socio-economic impacts of reforms (especially electrification of the poor) as an important indicator of the power sector’s sustainability. In overall terms, socio-economic impacts of reforms on
the poor appear to be negative or neutral. This is because, first and foremost, electrification of the poor
was not significantly addressed in the reform process and was, in several cases, almost an afterthought with
the exception of Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Zimbabwe, South Africa and
Mauritius. As a result, electrification access or levels of the poor (especially in rural areas) in many reforming sub-Saharan countries, except in the aforementioned countries, have either stagnated or declined altogether.
While increased access to electricity especially in rural areas is important, its affordability is widely recognized as a vital impetus to economic development. A key finding with regard to the impact of reforms on
the poor is the increase in the cost of electricity and the associated reduction or removal of subsidies for
the poor. Tariff increases were motivated by the desire to improve the financial health of the state-owned
utilities as well as to attract private investors. While these are desirable attributes as far as the sustainability of the power sector is concerned, placing a heavy financial burden on the poor to the extent of leading to disconnections (e.g. in Ghana) is neither desirable nor does it contribute to a sustainable power sector. It is for this reason that the World Bank has in its recent study on subsidies for the poor, advocated
for continued subsidization of the poor, however, more targeted ((Komives, et al, 2005).
In a limited number of countries, measures were taken in the reforms to improve the affordability of the
electricity services. In South Africa for example, the government introduced a new policy for supplying
free basic electricity services up to 50kWh per household per month to the poor in selected areas, and for
poor consumers not connected to the electricity grid, such as those using solar systems, it is allocated up
to R48 per month to offset the operational and maintenance costs of the systems. In Zimbabwe, South
Africa, Malawi, Kenya, and Uganda, the electricity utilities have reduced the upfront costs to enable the
poor afford connection especially for productive uses. These were often financed partly by levies raised
on the urban consumers to the benefit of rural electrification programmes.
However, an important positive outcome of power sector reforms is the establishment, in many countries,
of Rural Electrification Agencies and associated Rural Electrification Funds. These have begun delivering
benefits to the rural areas in some countries where adequate means were bestowed to the Agency. For
example, in Zimbabwe, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) established in 2002 has designed a programme to expand rural electrification dubbed the Accelerated Rural Electrification Programme with End
Use Infrastructure Development. The Zimbabwe programme covers the eight regions in Zimbabwe, and
in only 3 years, rural electrification levels rose from 20 per cent to 25 per cent, while in Uganda no significant progress in terms of electrification of the poor has been reported 6 years after the advent of the
Rural Electrification Authority.
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
The limited or no results obtained by REA are in part, due to the fact that the rural electrification funds
and boards have not provided effective and innovative mechanisms that would ensure they achieve their
objectives. Their design appears to have largely replicated that of past (and failed) mechanisms.
Another key finding is that overall, reforms have failed to boost investments in the sector and attract the
private sector as initially expected. In countries such as Malawi and Cameroon, in spite of reforms, not a
single Independent Power Producer (IPP) has invested in the country. In other countries, despite the presence of some IPPs, investments in new generation capacity were insufficient to meet demand, and load
shedding has ensued (e.g. Tanzania and Uganda).
It is also important to note that, in part, the involvement of IPPs has led to aforementioned increase in
tariffs. Based on the experiences of Kenya and Ghana, this is mainly due to three key reasons: Firstly,
most of the IPPs use fossil fuel based electricity generation plants29. Therefore, the high and rising cost
of fuel has been transferred to the consumers. Secondly, a significant number of IPPs have been invited
in on an emergency basis thereby escalating the cost. Thirdly, the licenses and Power Purchase
Agreements (PPAs) issued to the IPPs appear to have a short time span leaving IPPs with no choice but
to ensure that they recover their investment costs and make attractive returns within the limited time. In
Kenya, for instance, the selling price of electricity from one IPP fell by about a half when the license and
PPA was renewed but for a much longer period.
Another key finding is that, in many countries in the region, power sector reforms appear to have marginalized local private investment in the power sector. Current trends seem to indicate that, in the medium term, the state will be effectively handing over a significant share of electricity industry to non-national operators. In the long-term, this may be an unsustainable arrangement. In part, local private participation, especially in IPPs, has mainly been hampered by the emphasis on large-scale investment. However,
there are examples in Zimbabwe and Mauritius that indicate that potential exists for local private investment in the power sector especially using decentralized energy systems based on small-hydro, wind, solar,
and bagasse-based cogeneration and as long as the entry requirements are designed to accommodate local
With regard to the financial sustainability of the electricity utilities, reforms appear to have largely met
the objective of turning electricity utilities into profitable entities. Good examples include Ghana,
Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. This is important as it ensures that the resources that previously went into
salvaging the utilities are utilized to meet other social and economic needs such as health, education and
infrastructure. Furthermore, reforms also provided for a more sustainable financing mechanism for rural
electrification through the introduction of a levy mainly imposed on urban electricity consumers.
On the environmental impacts of power sector reforms, one of the key findings is that the amendments
of the Electricity Acts have partially contributed to the sustainability of the power sector by ensuring that
Environmental Impact Assessments are carried out prior to major electricity generation, transmission and
distribution installations. However, the amended Acts are silent on environmentally unfriendly installations that were established prior to the new Electricity Acts.
Another key finding is the worrisome trend in many countries, except for Zimbabwe, Kenya and
Mauritius, whereby the share of IPPs generating electricity from sustainable energy sources such as hydro,
solar, wind, geothermal and bagasse-based cogeneration, is declining. Prior to reforms, in the countries
covered in this study, most of the electricity generation came from non-fossil fuel-based sources, mainly
hydro. However, this proportion is rapidly decreasing because recent estimates by AFREPREN show that
only 37 per cent of the total installed capacity of all the implemented and planned IPP investments are
using environmentally friendly electricity generation options such as hydro, wind, bagasse-based cogen29 It could be that most IPPs favour fossil fuel based electricity generation due to the fact that fuel supply is borne by the host government (i.e. through a Fuel Supply Agreement) and the lead-time for developing thermal power stations, including return on investment,
is shorter than for a hydropower plant for example.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
eration and geothermal. If this trend continues unabated, it will not only imply an increase in the level of
greenhouse gases emissions from the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa, it may also lead to an increase
in the cost of electricity thus affecting the poor negatively as discussed earlier.
One should note that major concern has been raised over the development of large-scale hydropower
plants, especially the proposed Bujagali Dam in Uganda. Environmental lobby groups in the region have
put up a substantial amount of resistance citing potential environmental destruction associated with the
proposed dams. However, although environmental lobby groups appear to gradually accept well-designed
hydropower dams, continued resistance and stringent disbursement conditionalities might affect the
development of hydropower.
Analysis of the performance of Electricity Regulatory Agencies indicates that they have done little to
ensure the sector’s sustainability. In part this is attributed to the weakness of the regulatory agencies to
enforce the Electricity Act as a result of two key factors: Firstly, the electricity regulatory agencies are relatively new entities and have, therefore, not built significant capacity (e.g. Cameroon). Secondly, in some
instances, even where capacity exists, the ability of the regulatory agency to perform its duties has been
compromised by its lack of the requisite independence as a result of politically motivated appointments
of the members of the respective agencies’ boards (e.g. Kenya and Malawi). The fact that limited intervention has been made by the regulatory agencies to protect the poor from negative impacts of the high
cost of electricity and ensuring their electrification is a clear indication of the regulatory agencies’ disinterest among the poor.
Furthermore, the regulatory agencies have done little to promote an environmentally sustainable power
sector by reviewing electricity generation options. For example, there is no indication of regulatory agencies setting specific targets for the share of electricity generated from renewables energy technologies. In
addition, with the exception of Mauritius, the regulatory framework in most of sub-Saharan African countries does not provide for attractive tariffs to sustainable energy generation options such as small-hydro,
wind, bagasse-based cogeneration and geothermal.
3.2 Lessons learnt
Perhaps the most important lesson learnt is that reforms do not appear to have solved the power sector’s
problems. With the exception of increased profitability of the utilities, key issues that provided the impetus for reforms continue to prevail long after reform have been implemented. For example, generation
capacity shortfalls still persist in most sub-Saharan African countries. Furthermore, several countries have
put in place the requisite reform measures but that has not guaranteed the desired results.
Another important lesson learnt is that private sector involvement in the power sector is not the ultimate
solution. Developments in the management contracts in Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and to a lesser extent
Cote d’Ivoire indicate a significant degree of dissatisfaction in the private sector involvement. In Mali and
Senegal, for example, the involvement of the private sector in the power sector has been reversed.
Sub-Saharan African countries that have implemented power sector reforms, especially privatization, at a
slower pace appear to have produced better results than those that have carried out reforms in a rush.
Botswana Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are good examples of countries that have not
rushed into privatization of their power sector. In these countries, the power sector has performed relatively well particularly in terms of increased access to electricity among the population, including the poor.
Other countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Uganda where reforms appear to have implemented in a
hurried fashion, the outcomes have not been satisfactory. In Kenya and Uganda, reforms have, for
instance, led to a significant increase in tariff levels as well as stagnation and indeed reduction (e.g.
Uganda) in the electrification levels.
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
Another important lesson learnt is that Government involvement and commitment in the reform process
is critical, especially with regard to providing long-term strategies for the power sector. Invariably, countries that have implemented reforms at a slower pace appear to be those with long-term strategies and the
commitment to realize the set objectives. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana for example, their longterm strategy includes significant rural electrification. In these countries, Government involvement and
commitment has been significant and it is only after achieving relatively high rural electrification levels
have they begun privatizing their power sector.
An important lesson learnt is that it is possible to separate rural electrification and electrification of the
poor from utility reform. However, rural electrification and the electrification of the poor cannot be
alienated from power sector reform. It is only in countries where power sector reforms have been designed
to carry out privatization in parallel or after undertaking massive electrification of the population that
have produced desirable outcomes. Examples include Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Finally, heavy reliance on large hydropower in Africa may pose a threat to the sustainability of the power
sector, as hydropower has proven unreliable in the past. This is because it is dependent on rainfall, and is
therefore vulnerable to drought and other climatic variations. Many sub-Saharan African countries have
experienced serious droughts in the past, which have affected hydropower generation. Therefore regulations that favour solar, wind, geothermal and bagasse-based cogeneration energy source, which are not
reliant on rainfall, can reduce the weather related risks. For instance, during the drought period of
1998–2000 in Kenya, geothermal plants offered almost 100 per cent availability to cover base load deficits
regardless of prevailing weather conditions, and bagasse-based cogeneration was used to meet the power
deficits caused by drought in Mauritius in 1999. Energy security of supply can further be improved substantially by setting up regulations that foster regional energy integration allowing for cross-border power
trade among countries.
4. Policy guidelines for sustainability of the power sector
This section proposes possible policy strategies by highlighting opportunities and options for making the
power sector sustainable by focusing on four key issues: (i) Enhancing access to electricity among the
poor; (ii) Technical Options for Improving Access to the Poor; (iii) Ensuring the use of environmentallysound electricity generation options; and, (iv) Addressing gaps and barriers in the legal and regulatory
• Enhancing Access to Electricity among the Poor
The need for enhancing access to electricity among the poor cannot be overemphasized. In sub-Saharan
Africa, the poor - especially in rural areas, form the majority of the population. Therefore, access to electricity is likely to widen their scope of income generating opportunities. There are several options for
enhancing the poor’s access to electricity and these are discussed below.
Sequencing reforms: sub-Saharan African countries whose reforms are not at advanced stages should
ensure that they establish structures and mechanisms for increased rural electrification before embarking
on large-scale privatization reforms. Evidence from Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius and other
developing countries indicates that higher levels of access to electricity among the poor, especially in rural
areas, have been achieved when rural electrification initiatives precede major market oriented reforms such
as privatization.
Linking electrification targets to contract renewals REAs Board Members: The newly formed rural electrification agencies should have specific targets for electrifying the poor. This should be enforced through
making the targets as part of the agencies’ annual reporting as well as renewal of the contracts of the board
members as well as the executive employees of the agencies. A similar system is already in place in Kenya
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
through the newly instituted performance contracts for public institutions including key officials in
Ministry of Energy and the Heads of the electricity utilities.
Linking electrification targets to licenses renewals and tariff increments: The electricity regulatory agencies could also enforce the electrification of the poor through linking set targets to issuance of licenses and
concessions to electricity distribution utilities. Linking the number of connections to licenses and concessions is critical to ensuring the electrification of the poor. This approach has successfully been implemented in the licensing of mobile telephone operators in Kenya. The licensing of the operators is based
on, among other prerequisites, a demonstration of the firm’s ability to significantly increase the number
of mobile telephone connections and areas of geographical coverage. The license awarded to successful
operators includes a target number of new connections and geographical coverage over a specified period.
Subsequent renewal of the operator’s license largely depends on the extent to which it meets the target
indicated on its license (CCK, Personal Communication, 2003). As a result of stringent regulatory
enforcement, mobile telephony in has dramatically increased and has also lead to enhanced access and
affordability of communication services among the poor. Kenya now registers one of the highest penetration rates in Africa in mobile telephony (ECA/UNEP, 2005).
In addition, to ensure that the poor’s access to electricity is sustainable, the regulatory agencies should
ensure that tariff increments do not adversely affect the poor by providing for subsidies as well as encouraging utilities to utilize low cost electrification options.
• Technical Options for Improving Access to the Poor
To ensure increased access to the poor at an affordable cost, low-cost electrification technical options are
an ideal solution. Some African countries have already adopted low-cost electrification options.
Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Gabon, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, and
Zimbabwe are case examples of countries that have successfully adopted low cost electrification options.
These options include: Longer distances between distribution transformer; Single pole transformer
mounting; Shorter, smaller and fewer poles; Pre-fabricated wiring systems; Load limiters; Single Wire
Earth Return (SWER); Reduced conductor sizes: High-mast community floodlights; and Equipment
standardization that lowers costs as it allows for bulk procurement of parts and components for rural electrification.
• Ensuring the Use of Environmentally-Sound Electricity Generation Options
With regard to ensuring the sustainability of the power sector from an environmental perspective, the following are possible options:
Review of Electricity Acts: Electricity Acts should be amended to ensure environmentally harmful electricity generation, transmission and distribution entities that were installed prior to EIAs becoming
mandatory are assessed and mitigating measures carried out. The electricity regulatory agencies could
enforce this requirement by linking it to renewal of licenses and the review of tariffs.
Explicit targets for the share of renewables in the electricity generation mix: To mitigate the negative trend
of having an excessively large share of IPPs generating electricity from fossil fuel-based power plants, it is
proposed that the regulatory agencies in collaboration with the Ministries of Energy should set explicit
targets for the share of electricity generation from proven renewable energy technologies such as hydro,
wind, solar PV, bagasse-based cogeneration and geothermal. Kenya provides a model example where such
targets have been set. In Kenya, the Government has set a target of 25 per cent of electricity generation
to come from geothermal by the year 2020. There is already an IPP actively exploiting this option as part
of the process aiming at meeting the year 2020 target.
Modular development of electricity generation facilities: In order to minimize the potential negative
environmental effects of large scale electricity generation installations, power development planners in the
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
region should consider small- to medium-scale but reliable power plant that are also environmentally
friendly. Small hydro, wind, solar, bagasse-based cogeneration and geothermal energy sources appear to
fit into these criteria. In addition, modular development of electricity generation facilities can ensure an
incremental growth in generation capacity to meet the increase in demand in an economically and costeffective fashion.
Promotion of energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is one area that power sector reforms have not
addressed. In most sub-Saharan African countries, demand for power invariably significantly exceeds supply. With the exception of Ghana, the only solution applied so far in most countries has been increasing
generation capacity through the introduction of IPPs. However, implementation of energy efficiency
measures could reduce power demand thereby reducing the deficiency gap between power supply and
demand. In addition, it could defer investments in new large electricity generation installations thereby
providing opportunities smaller generation installations that could be met through small hydro, wind,
solar, bagasse-based cogeneration and geothermal energy sources.
• Addressing Gaps and Barriers in the Legal and Regulatory Framework
The following measures could help ensure the power sector’s sustainability:
Strengthening the regulatory agencies: Probably the most effective measure in addressing the gaps in the
legal and regulatory framework is ensuring the independence of the regulatory agencies. This can be
achieved by enhancing the representation among the board members. For example, having representatives of various segments of consumers, including rural on the board of the regulatory agency could ensure
that the plight of the disadvantaged is heard especially with respect to electrification and review of electricity tariffs.
Mobilizing local capital investment: The examples of Zimbabwe and Mauritius demonstrate the potential financial and technical capability and viability of local private investors in the power sector. This is
corroborated by findings from recent AFREPREN studies which seem to indicate that local private
investors can own and operate small to medium scale entities in the power sector, either on their own or
with foreign partners (see Marandu and Kayo, 2004). Appropriate policy and financial incentives such
as lowering entry requirements and tax holidays should be enacted to encourage local private investment
in a privatized electricity industry. The ideal entry point, as in the case of Zimbabwe and Mauritius, is
likely to be in small hydro and wind energy sources as well as through local cogeneration in the agro-based
Issuing licenses and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) covering a longer period: Issuing longer-term
licenses and PPAs can ensure that the selling price of electricity by IPPs is moderated. This is essentially
because, longer-term agreements allow for sufficient time for the investor to pay off project financing
debts as well as provides adequate amortization period for the equipment.
Overcoming challenges of rural electrification: Perhaps the most common barrier of rural electrification
identified is the high cost of grid extension. An immediate option to lower the cost of rural electrification is the use of proven low cost electrification options such as those identified in this study. Another
option is the promotion of decentralized electricity generation in rural areas using hydro, wind, bagassebased cogeneration and where applicable geothermal. This would greatly reduce the need for transmission
lines to transverse long distances and sometimes-difficult terrain. The other option for consideration is
the cross border connections between towns/villages in neighboring countries, which reduces costs of supply by avoiding long transmission lines within individual countries. However, while these technical
options are attractive, the policy framework has to provide adequate incentives to realize the benefits of
these options.
Leveling the ‘playing field’: As mentioned earlier, electricity regulatory agencies could play a significant
role in promoting proven environmentally friendly electricity generation options such as hydro, wind
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
solar PV, bagasse-based cogeneration and geothermal. The regulatory agencies could promote these technologies through setting of specific targets as well as providing for preferential tariffs for their electricity
sales. In addition, regulatory agencies could provide attractive incentives to investors willing to install
electricity generation plants based on these energy sources.
5. Conclusion
Based on preliminary assessments of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of power sector reforms, this
study concludes that reforms have not done enough to ensure the sustainability of power sector. To ensure the
sector’s sustainability, reforms have to be redesigned to ensure that access to the majority of the population - the
poor - is enhanced. In addition, the sustainability of the power sector can also be enhanced by ensuring a
favourable share of renewables in electricity generation mix. Above all, the electricity regulatory agencies must
carry out their mandate of protecting the poor by ensuring increased access to electricity and provision of subsidies as well as promoting proven renewable energy options for electricity generation. There is also need to
address the identified gaps and barriers in the legal and regulatory framework as proposed in this study to ensure
that the power sector is sustainable.
Power Sector Reform in Africa: Policy Guidelines for the Sustainability of the Sector
(Komives, et al, 2005) Komives, K., Foster, V. Halpern, J. and Wodon, Q. 2005. Water, Electricity, and the Poor: Who Benefits from
Utility Subsidies? Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
(CCK, Personal Communication, 2003) Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), 2003. Personal Communication,
(ECA/UNEP, 2005) Making Africa’s Power Sector Sustainable, ECA-UNEP study, 2005.
(Marandu and Kayo, 2004) Kayo, D., 2001, Power Sector Reform in Zimbabwe, proceedings of a regional policy seminar on power
reforms in Africa, African Energy Policy Research Network, Nairobi.
(Reyes et al., 2004): Fernando Reyes Manibog, Rafael Dominguez, Stephan Wegner “Power for Development: A Review of the
World Bank Group’s Experience With Private Participation In the Electricity Sector (Operations Evaluation Studies)”, World Bank
Publications, February 2004.
(IEA, 2006): International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics, 2006, www.iea.org
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
Chapter 4
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up
Energy Access for Economic
and Human Development:
Lessons learned from the East African
Community and the Economic Community
of West African States
United Nations Development Programme
1. Introduction
This chapter presents the experience of two African Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) - East
African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) - who, with
assistance from the UNDP, have moved towards developing and implementing regional strategies to
increase access to modern energy services (UNDP, 2006a).
The Johannesburg consensus: access to energy underpins development and poverty
The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) includes an emerging international consensus on the
role of energy in sustainable development:
1) Energy services are an essential input to economic development and social progress, notably to
achieving the Millennium Development Goals30. Energy services are necessary for successful implementation of almost all sectoral development programmes, notably revenue generating activities,
health, education, water, food security, agricultural development, etc. Increased access to energy fuels
economic growth and poverty reduction. “The lack of modern fuels and electricity in most developing countries entrenches poverty, constrains the delivery of social services, limits opportunities for
women, and erodes environmental sustainability” (UN-Energy, 2005).
2) Under current economic conditions, provision of energy services to poor populations in many
developing countries is not attractive to market actors. Experience in the decades before and after
Johannesburg had amply demonstrated the positive and negative aspects of a purely market based
approach to the provision of energy services. On the positive side, in the power sector for instance,
privatization and deregulation had in many cases reduced expenditure of public funds in support of
money losing public utilities. However, on the negative side, these attempts only rarely achieved
improvement in the quality or reliability of service in urban areas (see Chapter 3). In almost no cases
had they achieved improvement in the rates of access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas.
Similarly, access to, and sustainability of, provision of domestic fuels and of fuels for transport had
not improved under the pure market approach.
30 The DFID document “Energy for the Poor” clearly exposed the many linkages between energy and the multiple aspects of
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
3) As a consequence, public authorities must act vigorously to create the conditions that will
allow greatly expanded access to energy services.
The role of the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs)
In the African context, whereas the new consensus had concluded that public intervention in appropriate
forms was essential, an inventory of public action showed that energy was rarely mentioned in African
national and regional development strategies. As a result, public action, in all forms – investment,
regulatory action, ODA – was almost absent in the energy sectors in Africa.
Consequently, after Johannesburg, a broad movement began, led in part by the RECs to integrate energy
considerations into national and regional development strategies in support of economic development,
poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This is the main goal of the
EAC and ECOWAS Regional Energy Strategies presented in this chapter. UNDP, through the “Energy
Poverty Regional Programme (REPP)” supported this process.
The two regions covered in this document represent a broad range of situations in sub-Saharan Africa
(SSA) countries. The 20 countries of the 2 regions (out of almost 50 in SSA) include a major oil exporter,
many oil importers, electricity exporters and importers, as well as several LDCs and LLDCs. Despites
these disparities, what these countries have in common is a low level of access to modern energy services,
particularly in rural areas. Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that other situations exist in Africa, for
instance in Northern Africa and within the country members of the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP),
the most advanced in sub-Saharan Africa.
2. Overview of access to energy in EAC and ECOWAS regions
African energy poverty, a barrier to development
Inadequate and unreliable access to modern energy is a significant constraint to the development of industrial activities, to increased agriculture productivity, and to the provision of basic services such as health,
education and water.
Currently, the rate of access to modern energy sources remains very low: electricity or LPG is available
only for a few urban centres and economic structures, with the majority of the poor excluded. As a whole,
Africa accounts for 13 per cent of world population, produces 7 per cent of world’s commercial energy
but only contributes 2 per cent of the world’s GDP and accounts for 3 per cent of global commercial energy consumption. In East African, less than 3 per cent of the rural population and 32 per cent of its urban
population is connected to the national (electricity) grids. In West Africa, traditional energy sources (biomass) represent on average 90 per cent of total energy consumption, and only 12 per cent of the 260 million inhabitants of the region have access to electricity (ECOWAS, 2006a). In both regions, under 10 per
cent of the rural population has access to electricity.
Furthermore, in terms of access to modern energy, women in particular are disadvantaged within the
household, bearing the bulk of energy related tasks such as cooking, carrying water and collecting firewood: “Energy has an explicit gender dimension when considered from the poverty point of view” (EAC,
Insufficient investment, weak policy framework
While lack of energy services constitutes a barrier to development in Africa, “business as usual” will not
improve the situation. In fact, under current trends, in absolute terms, the number of people without
access to electricity would even increase in the coming decades.
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
On one hand, private investments in energy have been declining, and is limited to urban areas; on the
other, public intervention in energy remained very limited, in great part because of lack of public finance,
and as a result of structural adjustment programmes of the last two decades, that called for the privatization of large government owned enterprises, such as power utilities.
Furthermore, as shown by a recent UNDP study, the public policy framework for intervention in the
energy sector is weak or non-existent (UNDP, 2007). While energy services are essential inputs for achieving most of the MDGs, energy is not directly mentioned in these goals. It might be expected that energy
inputs would appear as components of sectoral development strategies, but, as shown in the UNDP study,
the linkages between energy and sectoral goals in PRSPs is weak: ”Only 57 per cent of the African PRSP
reports made explicit links between energy and income poverty. The connection between energy and
other economic issues - such as debt sustainability and international trade - was not prominently reflected in other PRSPs”. Furthermore, according to this report, the linkages between energy and social development factors, like education, gender equality and health are also notably marginalized in many PRSPs.
Lack of access to energy, insufficient private and public investment, and weak policy framework: the combination of these three elements makes progress difficult. In order to reverse the current trends, public
action will be necessary, to:
• attract private investments through the creation of conducive investment environments;
• mobilize the capacity to pay off energy users;
• allocate national and international public resources to investment in energy infrastructure.
Thus, creating an adequate policy framework to sustain public action is a priority.
The national and regional levels
The principle of subsidiarity requires that for optimal efficiency and responsiveness to local needs, specific energy measures should be carried out by the smallest geographical/administrative/social entity
possible. This might be a communal structure, a sub-national entity (department, canton, county, etc.) or
a national organization.
If the subsidiarity principle suggests that work should be done at local or national level, why work at the
supra-national regional level? What is the relationship between national and regional efforts? Actions at
the supra-national level should be limited to cases where pursuing implementation within a smaller geographical area is clearly sub-optimal, or cannot succeed, as under the following conditions:
• Need for scale economies. Combining efforts at the regional level can lead to economies of scale.
Rather than building several small national structures, one larger regional structure may provide
better quality and lower cost and at the same time ensure profitability. Nevertheless, it must be kept
in mind that proper governance of an multi-national publicly supported facilities is a challenge: many
past efforts have failed, in part due to poor management, and insufficient support from the local
• Need for a critical mass for institutions and markets. Most national energy markets in Africa are
quite small. Combining small national markets into a regional market may create the “critical mass”
capable of attracting international investors. Similarly, national administrative structures may be too
small and weak to carry out essential tasks.
• Need for increasing reliability, and maximising the benefit of local energy resources. Physical
inter-connection of national infrastructure can increase the overall performance of energy systems.
Cross border infrastructure can sometimes prove to be the most cost effective way to provide energy
services. This is particularly pertinent for harnessing Africa’s vast potential for natural gas and renewable energy sources, that are often low cost, but regionally unevenly distributed.
• Need for harmonization of markets and frameworks. Harmonization, standardization and
increased uniformity of economic, regulatory and legislative frameworks within a region can make
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
markets more attractive to potential investors, by lowering the cost of doing business in the countries
of the region.
In Africa, adopting a regional approach appears optimal or even essential, since the continent is divided
into a large number of small countries, including almost 30 of the Least Developed Countries with populations of under 20 million. The national energy markets are small and fragmented. Furthermore, in
these small mostly poor countries, it is a challenge for governments to design and implement policies to
address the complex issues related to energy access. Thus, support from the RECs has proved essential.
3. Integrating access to energy into development strategies
The Johannesburg consensus concludes on the necessity for action to be taken by public authorities to
create conditions to increase access to modern energy. This includes regulatory and legislative measures at
national and/or regional levels, the allocation of public funds from national budgets, and the increase of
Official Development Assistance.
Since priority actions undertaken by public authorities are implemented in the context of existing development strategies and policies, a first and essential step is to ensure that energy issues are duly integrated
into national policies and strategies, and reflected in documents such as Poverty Reduction Strategy
EAC Development and Energy Access Strategies
The regional energy policy of the East African Community (EAC) aims to enhance economic and social
development by sharply increasing access to modern energy sources.
EAC Development Strategy
The 3rd EAC Development Strategy (2006-2010) focuses on the challenges that the Community is
facing, in order to identify the areas for priority interventions. Among these challenges, the most significant are: globalization; high poverty levels; low access to energy; and the rising price of oil. This latter
challenge “is likely to have considerable implications on the oil importing East African economies considering that the current level of oil dependence is high (at 3.5 per cent of the GDP) and is likely to rise
further as these countries industrialize”.
The objective of the 3rd strategy is to highlight its potential capability to reduce extreme poverty and to
boost economic growth in the region. Taking into account that increasing access to energy services should
help implement the Strategy, the document spells out the key pillars of East African integration: crosscutting priority intervention and sectoral priority intervention.
• Cross cutting priority intervention. There are two different ways to link the interventions concerning access to energy (EAC, 2006b): having the capacity to boost access to energy or conversely; being
positively influenced by an increased access to energy. This latter link is clearly demonstrated in the
two following examples: Combating HIV and AIDS, one of the most sensitive priority interventions
in EAC, requires increased access to modern energy services. According to a UN-Energy policy
paper: “electricity for communication such as radio and television can spread important public health
information to combat deadly diseases. Health care facilities, doctors and nurses, all require electricity and the services that it provides (…) to deliver effective health services” (UN-Energy, 2005).
Sectoral priority interventions. The Development Strategy views energy as one of the sectoral
priority interventions together with agriculture and food security, environment and natural resources,
health and education, etc. For the Energy Sectoral Intervention: “the emphasis (…) will be to ensure
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
availability of sufficient, reliable, and cost effective energy services which will assist in addressing the
broader EAC objectives of attracting investments, and promoting competitiveness and trade (…).
Some of the proposed strategic interventions” are as follows (ECA, 2006c): implement the East
African Power Supply Master Plan; promote the energy mix system involving non-and renewable
energies; extend gas pipelines. These supply sided strategic interventions are considered the first steps
in increasing access to energy.
Beyond the Energy sectoral intervention, increased access to energy can have a significant impact on the
achievement of other priority interventions. In the case of Agriculture and Food security ”the regional
Strategy of enhancing supply capacities in agriculture will entail identifying high value agricultural subsectors (…) and capitalise on investments that can facilitate the shift from comparative to competitive
advantages by facilitating movement up the value chain’’ thus requiring additional, reliable and costeffective energy.
As shown above, energy, either as a sectoral intervention or as a means to achieving other interventions,
already benefits from an increased attention within the EAC Development Strategy. Overall, the Key
Pillars of East African Integration, Crosscutting Priority Intervention and Sectoral Priority Intervention
as set out in the Development Strategy, are an opportunity for the EAC to go beyond a “business as usual”
supply-side approach. The EAC general objective is therefore to launch policies and programmes aimed
at boosting economic growth and reducing poverty by increasing access to energy services. Also, it is currently developing a two-sided policy with on the one hand, the East African Energy Master Plan to
increase supply capacities; and on the other hand, the strategy on scaling up access to modern energy services – demand driven guiding principle, which makes it unreservedly innovative.
EAC Regional Strategy on Scaling up Access to Modern Energy Services
The objective of the EAC Regional Strategy on “Scaling-up Access to Modern Energy Services Regional
Strategy” is to support the achievements of the MDGs by enabling “at least half the population to have
access to modern energy services by the year 2015. This means enabling 9.6 million more households and
23,000 extra localities to access modern energy services” with an additional US$3.4 billion in resources.
Payments for services by end users are expected to play an important role in the financial and economic
equilibrium of energy investments. The inclusion of Rwanda and Burundi into the EAC will increase
impact: for instance, resources will increase by over US$1.2 billion. It is expected that user payment for
services will cover almost half of the budget.
The strategy uses two significant concepts when addressing the topic of access to energy services to achieve
the MDGs.
“Energy poverty” can be defined as the lack of sufficient choice that would give access to adequate, affordable, effective and environmentally sustainable energy services that could support economic and human
“Energy services” refers to the end use applications of an energy delivery system that meet tangible and/or
intangible life and livelihoods needs and social services (e.g., recreation, lighting, cooking, communications, transportation, heating).
The four strategic targets for scaling-up access to modern energy services
In the process of endorsing the scaling up strategy, the EAC adopted four targets to address the energy
access challenges posing the largest risk to meeting the MDGs in the EAC. The following targets are based
on a set of progressive and demand oriented guiding principles (which is already a major breakthrough):
• Usage of modern cooking practices by 50 per cent of those who at present use traditional biomass
for cooking, including reducing indoor air pollution to safe levels, and increasing the sustainability
of biomass-derived fuel production;
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
• Access to reliable electricity for all urban and peri-urban poor;
• Access to modern energy services such as lighting, refrigeration, information and communication
technology, and water treatment and supply for all schools, clinics, hospitals and community centres;
• Access to mechanical power for all communities for productive uses.
Prerequisites to achieve the strategic targets at national/policy level
In addition to the socio-economic factors hindering the smooth functioning of the community, member
States are aware that three prerequisites have to be addressed before reaching the adopted targets. EAC
countries themselves must:
• mainstream energy into MDG-based National Development Strategies (NDS)/ Poverty Reduction
Strategies (PRSs);
• develop pro-poor energy policies and regulatory frameworks to attract required investments from all
sources such as Official Development Assistance, the private sector and national revenue; and
• build national capacity to deliver modern energy services for the poor and unserved”.
Focus to achieve the targets at local level: meeting the market demand
One of the main conclusions of the strategy is that there is a significant market for increased access to
modern energy services. The strategy points out that households (excluding the top 20 per cent income
household) spend up to US$1.2 billion a year on inferior energy services. This shows that part of the
required resources are available through end user payments and that private sector and international
donors’ assistance will be needed to unlock the capacity of households to invest. Public action will be
required to create the enabling environment for profitable business models to provide energy services.
Furthermore, public subsidies will be required in certain cases in view of reducing extreme poverty.
The three areas where there is need for public targeted interventions are: the market for improved cooking stoves in rural areas; the market for urban and peri-urban connection to the electricity network; and
the market for community services and access to modern energy services.
The ECOWAS Regional Energy Access Policy
Sectoral policies have failed in the last twenty years to reduce poverty and to increase access to modern
energy services in rural and peri-urban areas. ECOWAS considers that large-scale access to energy services is crucial to achieve the MDGs and boost GDP growth. However, current trends of access to energy
services in rural and peri-urban areas are not sufficient to ensure the attainment of these goals.
Consequently, there is urgent need for decisive actions to expand energy access. In response to this challenge, ECOWAS countries and regional institutions have launched the Regional Energy Access Policy,
embodied by the White Paper endorsed by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in January 2006
in Niamey.
Objectives of the White Paper
The Regional Energy Access Policy aims to ensure access to modern energy services to at least half the
population living in rural and peri-urban areas by 2015, in line with the MDGs. The challenge is
immense. For instance, it will entail “supplying 36 million more households and 49,000 more localities
with access to energy services”. Other objectives of the policy are to:
• strengthen regional integration with a view to fostering development and building capacities;
• help harmonise political and institutional frameworks (i.e. PRSPs, MDG monitoring framework,
etc.); and
• develop, on the basis of national political frameworks, coherent energy policies based on reducing
poverty in rural and peri-urban areas and achieving the MDGs.
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
The ECOWAS White Paper fixes three targets to be achieved by 2015:
• 100 per cent of the total population should have access to improved domestic services;
• 66 per cent of the population in rural and urban areas should have access to individual electricity
supply; and
• 60 per cent of the population living in rural areas should have access to motive power for productive uses31.
Added value of the region
The value added of the ECOWAS collective regional response lies in its proven ability to “establish a
knowledge management system that will directly support capacity-building strategy by fostering expertise based on shared practices” (ECOWAS, 2006b). In addition, the Community can be a catalyst, notably
concerning the mobilization of investment funds, like the first achievements of WAPP and WAGP grids”.
Overall, ECOWAS, as an organization, brings significant benefit at an upstream level, i.e. institutional
reforms, technical standards, financial mechanisms, and cross-border tariff issues.
Required investment
ECOWAS estimates that for achieving the three targets by 2015, three types of investments are necessary:
investments in access (the equipment required for access to modern energy services); investments in operating costs (including cost of generation and transmission) and; investments in technical studies and
accompanying measures. The cost of implementing the three policies can be broken down into:
17.5 billion dollars (over ten years) for investment in equipment needed for access to modern energy services and for studies and accompanying measures;
34.6 billion dollars (over ten years) for energy related costs: international donors should support a significant part but end users would also be able to finance a portion.
Institutional framework to implement a multisectoral energy policy
The main guiding principle of the approved policy is to follow a participatory and multi-sectoral approach
when developing MDG based policies and programmes for energy access. This is done through the development of a national vision for energy access for 2015, based on a need assessment that involves all key
players in the identification of the energy services needed to implement other sectoral policies and programmes in the field of education, health, water, agriculture, etc. Other guiding principles include technological neutrality and the promotion of public-private partnership.
Countries are building the required institutional framework in order to apply the regional policy. This
includes the creation of National Multisectoral Committees (NMC) in the participating countries, whose
mandate is to coordinate national stakeholder efforts in developing Energy for Poverty Reduction Action
Plans and National Investment programmes. At the regional level, a Regional Multisectoral Committee,
with representatives from all national committees, provides oversight and guidance for the implementation of the White Paper and helps harmonize the work of the NMCs. In parallel, an energy service needs
assessment is being launched in each country to help create a vision at the national level, while a regional capacity-building action plan is being built to support countries.
The White Paper also proposes “the establishment of a Regional Agency for Energy Access (RAEA) to
mobilize the necessary resources for tackling the enormous challenge to provide modern energy services
31 The regional strategy documents use three categories for energy services: domestic fuels; electricity; motive power. The documents
have been strongly influenced by the work of the Millenium Project that put forward this categorisation. From an energy analysis
standpoint, this categorisation is incomplete, leaving aside important services such as process heat or transport fuels. Nevertheless, the
categorisation, by stressing what is important for achieving the MDGs, has proved useful in creating a political consensus on the
necessity for public action to provide energy services.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
to more than half the region’s population by 2015” (Abeeku et al., 2006). The mission of the RAEA,
which is expected to become an ECOWAS specialized body, would be to lead and coordinate the implementation of the regional plan of action for increasing access to energy services.
Implementation status
ECOWAS has already launched the first phase of preparatory activities (2006 and 2008) that aim to create both an enabling environment and sufficient capacity within the region, to build market visibility and
confidence. The preparatory activities will prepare the ground for the next phase (2008-2015) of the
White Paper, i.e. implementation of the regional action plan and investment programmes needed to reach
the objectives set by the White Paper.
At this moment in time, ECOWAS countries need reliable and long-term support from the international community, in order to meet the challenge of the low access level to modern energy services through a
multisectoral approach. This will positively influence development policies in Health, Education or
Agriculture and Food processing, etc. According to the White Paper, the overall cost of implementing this
access to modern energy services is around 16 dollars per inhabitant per year, around 4.3 per cent of
regional GDP.
4. Building large scale regional energy infrastructure
Both EAC and ECOWAS have initiated ambitious programmes to build large-scale regional energy
Box 1: Regional electric power pools
The South African Power Pool (SAPP), and the developing West African Power Pool both allow optimal
use of complementary power generation facilities using cheap hydropower when it is available, and sharing
thermal generation when necessary. Furthermore, regional power pools increase the reliability of service,
allowing neighbouring systems to provide backup facilities in case of outage of one power plant.
Lessons: Regional infrastructure can optimise energy systems, improving reliability and use of renewable
The East Africa Power Master Plan (EAPMP)
East Africa is endowed with abundant and cost effective resources to produce electricity, i.e. gas, geothermal, hydro and promising coal resources. These resources can meet future energy demands and, if well
managed, form the economic foundation of future economic growth of EAC countries.
The East Africa Power Master Plan (EAPMP) shows that there are economies of scale associated with
electricity interconnection and trade within EAC countries. In addition, the Plan demonstrates that the
development of hydro projects in Uganda and Tanzania would increase EAC capacity to produce costeffective electricity and reduce its level of imported oil dependency. The EAPMP also provides the basis
for coordinated action among the three countries, under the leadership of the East African Community.
The Plan lays out a 20-year programme (beyond 2015) of investment in the energy sector, with clear
objectives and investment targets to meet the expected growth in demand for power. According to the
Plan, the economic rational is clear and substantive, i.e. a coordinated, integrated approach can achieve
economic benefits of some US$456 million net present value (NPV) over the next 20 years.
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
However, the Plan calls for high-level political commitment in order to attract major private investment
to the sector. The Plan states that this commitment should be translated into measures that will reduce
investor uncertainty, as this type of project requires significant financial investment.
The Plan calls for fast tracking the implementation of three key projects in order to demonstrate EAC’s
capacity to lead this type of complex process. These projects are the hydropower dam of Bujagali in
Uganda; a 360 MW of additional gas fired power plant in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) aimed at supplying
Kenya demand; and the Arusha-Nairobi power interconnection. These three projects, if underway within 18 months, will demonstrate that East Africa is acting together to meet its power needs in a Kyotofriendly, low cost manner. The Plan also calls for targeted activity aimed at assessing potential Emission
Reduction Credits (ERC) under the Kyoto Protocol that would arise from implementation of the EAPMP
and at using these credits as a source of co-finance for implementation.
The Plan goes much further in terms of technical proposals and specific actions to develop. Among these,
the most important proposals are: to set up an integrated electricity system for the three or five countries,
based on the East African Power Pool.
With the Plan, EAC priority is to ensure reliable, adequate and cost effective access to modern energy
sources. This access is required to unlock the development of industrial and agricultural activities and to
increase household connection rate to national electricity grids in the three countries. However, the EAC
crucially needs international financial and technical resources to achieve this supply sided policy.
The West African Power Pool
As demand for energy services in West Africa is expected to grow by 5 per cent annually over the next 20
years, the region needs to increase its generating capacity by about 17,000 MW to keep up32 the pace.
Pooling power at the regional level is economically rational, permitting savings estimated at US$ 3 to5
billion over 20 years.
Objectives of the WAPP
In response to the long-acknowledged lack of reliable access to energy, the vision of the West African
Power Pool (WAPP) is to integrate the national power system operations into a unified regional electricity market. The main priorities33 are to quadruple interconnection capacities within the next 20 years and
to generate additional electricity capacities. Furthermore, the project aims to increase trade in energy
amongst ECOWAS countries and promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector. With an estimated investment of US$16 billion over the period, ECOWAS expects the WAPP mechanism to help
ensure reliable, affordable and cost-effective electricity supply for the inhabitants of the region.
Power trading within West African countries is still in the early stages of development. However, there is
already a network of bilateral cross-border interconnections supporting energy trading between the countries34 and by 2011, most countries in the region are expected to be interconnected. In addition, ECOWAS has made substantial progress in building the regional institutional and regulatory framework for the
implementation of regional power trade.
32 For further information see http://www.usaid.gov/missions/warp/ecintegration/wapp/
33 The following objectives are assigned to the WAPP General Secretariat: Increase collaboration in the region; Improve reliability and
efficiency of power supplies; Minimise network operating costs; Encourage investment in energy; Introduce and enforce operating standards; and Increase the overall level of power supply in the region.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Key achievements
Four key achievements are:
• Creation of the WAPP Secretariat. The WAPP was created in 1999 by ECOWAS member States
(A/DEC.5/12/99) and granted the status of ECOWAS Specialized Institution in 2006
(A/DEC.20/01/06) to address the issue of inadequate power supply within West Africa.
• Adoption of the ECOWAS Energy Protocol. The 2003 Protocol calls for the elimination of crossborder barriers to trade in energy. It encourages investment by providing for investor-friendly terms
such as: international arbitration for dispute resolution; the repatriation of profits; and protection
against expropriation of assets. With respect to the electric power sector, the Protocol provides open
and non-discriminatory access to power generation sources and transmission facilities, and envisions
an enforcement mechanism supported by the ECOWAS Secretariat.
• Creation of the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre. The WAPP Information and
Coordination Centre was established to: collect energy supply and demand balances; provide forecasts of potential energy surpluses available for trading; coordinate maintenance schedules; and
engage in long-term generation and transmission capacity expansion planning. It has now been integrated into the new WAPP General Secretariat in Cotonou, Benin.
• Establishment of a Regional Regulatory Body. As cross-border trade in electricity grows, the task
of the RRA is mainly to supervise an effective system for dispute resolution; establish and provide the
enforcement of uniform technical rules for the management of trade; and review bulk power transactions between systems of member State entities.
The WAPP mechanism has already succeeded in persuading the international community of its potential:
“Under its new approach for lending on regional integration projects, the World Bank has made the
WAPP its number one priority for West Africa. (…) World Bank loans can now be made to national
governments for the segment of an international transmission line lying within its territory”35. However,
the current priority for the Community is to ensure that international donors assist with the financial
constraints in implementing this mechanism. Opening up the path, by providing substantial financial
support will help launch priority projects and endow the WAPP with its own resources.
The West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP)
Another major success of ECOWAS in the energy sector is the establishment of the WAGP. The pipeline
owned and operated by a private-public consortium, is currently under construction and should be fully
operational in September 2007.
The purpose of this project is to construct a 600 km pipeline at a total cost of about US$ 615 million to
transport natural gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana. Through this initiative, cheaper and cleaner energy sources will reach member States for electricity generation and industrial purposes. One of the
benefits of the pipeline will be a reduction of the overall industrial production costs resulting in greater
industrial growth and economic integration. Moreover, environmental pollution caused by electricity
generation will be greatly reduced.
The economic effects of the WAGP are manifold: 10,000 to 20,000 primary sector jobs will be created;
new power supplies will stimulate the growth of new industry potentially creating 30,000 to 60,000
secondary jobs; and an additional US$800 million in new industrial investment should occur in the
region. The World Bank estimates that Benin, Togo and Ghana can save nearly US$500 million with the
newly built WAGP over a 20-year period.
34 The following objectives are assigned to the WAPP General Secretariat: Increase collaboration in the region; Improve reliability and
efficiency of power supplies; Minimise network operating costs; Encourage investment in energy; Introduce and enforce operating standards; and Increase the overall level of power supply in the region.
35 West African Electricity Sector Integration, p. 11.
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
5. UNDP: Capacity development for expanding energy access
in Africa
Energy has a profound bearing on the lives of the poor. It is central to every aspect of human endeavours,
making its availability, reliability and affordability a critical element to the achievement of the MDGs.
UNDP works on energy for sustainable development as part of its commitment to “Energizing the
UNDP provides an integrated approach to addressing the multidimensional problems of sustainable energy development, and capacity development lies at the heart of this approach. Whether at the global,
regional or local level, UNDP aims to strengthen the capacity of its partners to address the energy challenges of the poor. As the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP can draw on the UN system’s knowledge
and network of experts, including the experience of 136 Country Offices working on environment and
energy issues to help governments formulate locally-appropriate, integrated, sustainable energy solutions.
To “energize” the MDGs, UNDP assists governments in mainstreaming energy considerations into
MDG-based national development plans and poverty reduction strategies as well as developing local
capacity to expand access to energy services for the poor.
Since the adoption of the MDGs, over half of UNDP’s recent energy-related projects and financing have
dealt with expanding access to modern energy services. Over the past decade, UNDP has commanded a
portfolio of US$2.5 billion in total energy-related projects, for which the Global Environment Facility
(GEF) has been a major source of funding; and the list of partners and co-funding sources is growing,
allowing the energy access portfolio to expand. In fact, between 2001 and 2005 the energy access portion
of UNDP’s portfolio has included over US$700 million in financing.
The largest growth in the energy access portfolio has unquestionably been in Africa. UNDP support for
energy-related projects in Africa rose to over US$120 million in the past 5 years—a three-fold increase
over previous 5-year periods—with almost all of that funding related to increasing access to energy.
UNDP has been able to mobilize a significant degree of regional and national support for this work with
substantial cost-sharing supplied by other organizations.
In addition to its global- and country-based programmes, UNDP also maintains three regional energy
programmes, including one in Africa. The Dakar-based Africa programme is the main driver of UNDP’s
increasing involvement in energy in the region. It is designed to help share lessons learned from national
experiences and upscale country level actions while encouraging cooperative action through the consolidation of political commitments at the regional level. Through this regional Energy For Poverty
Reduction programme, UNDP offers capacity development support and technical and financial assistance
for the implementation of the EAC and ECOWAS Policies on energy access in addition to its capacity
development work at the country-level.
6. Conclusion: investing in energy for development
The work accomplished by EAC and ECOWAS in developing a political consensus on access to energy
has laid the foundations for national and regional energy infrastructure investments. Many projects and
programmes are already underway, often predating the regional energy access strategies. These include:
• regional power pools with projects on cross-border power transmission lines and on regulation of
power pools (WAPP, EAPMP);
• national rural electrification programmes; and
• national and regional programmes on sustainable production and use of domestic fuels.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
The challenge these regions now face is to translate national and regional political consensus into investment programmes that will increase availability and use of affordable energy services for productive use
and wealth creation. It will be particularly important to provide the services that will favour the development of rural industries, adding value to local resources. The following guidelines should map the way
toward maximizing the chances for success.
Address specific regional issues such as trade barriers, regional integration, and the transnational nature of many
energy resources. In addition to local and national needs, if energy services are to be viable over the longterm and scalable in a manner that will serve the millions in need, they will have to address larger regional and international issues such as trade barriers, regional integration, and the transnational nature of
many energy resources such as river basins. The example of Manatalli is illustrative of a good approach to
solve this type of challenges.
Integrate Energy Planning and Implementation into National and Regional Strategies.
• Ensuring that access to rural energy services is placed at the forefront of the national or rural development framework, sustained by a common vision for a rural energy demand approach and corresponding strategies and sectoral action plans to implement the vision.
• Using advocacy and lobbying to create a space for negotiations and debates and to illustrate the role
of improved access to energy in promoting growth and social development.
• Coordinating existing strategies and policies (e.g. for EAC, setting along the same lines the objectives
of the Master Plan and Scale up strategy) and building on lessons learned from existing energy access
projects and programmes, and potential synergies. The combination of local productive enterprises,
local energy resources, technical improvements in production, efficiency improvements in use, emissions control, and sustainable land-use practices can all add up, leading to productivity enhancement
and simultaneous reduction in unit costs while allowing beneficial use of an otherwise potentially
harmful energy source.
• Formulating policies that recognize and support the successful existing energy delivery systems in
poor communities, in the absence of more organized efforts.
• Creating a political space for discussing energy access for poverty reduction at the regional and
national levels.
• Providing an opportunity and motivation at the national level to examine how energy needs to be
approached to help achieve the MDGs.
MDG-based PRS works to align partners to national priorities. As ECOWAS White Paper processes show:
• Once national and regional governments integrate energy in their macro planning, that has worked
to align all partners behind the set national priorities;
• This also greatly helps prioritize external assistance in support of national priorities.
Creating a multisectoral process or political fora to discuss and develop a national consensus on energy is key to
expanding access to modern energy for the poor.
• Rural development activities - agriculture, transport, water supply, education, income generation,
health care - all have energy requirements. Yet the ministries and departments responsible for these
activities rarely coordinate or cooperate with the ministry of energy or with one another to arrive at
the most rational integrated solution to their energy needs.
• An institutionalized forum for coordinating and cooperating on energy strategies and action plans
across government ministries and departments’ supports mainstreaming energy into the development
process. It is the reason why ECOWAS has been promoting a cross-sectoral approach based on a
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
regional committee of cross-sectoral experts (mainly energy and finance) and national cross-sectoral
groups involving key sectors and actors as health, education, agriculture, private sector, etc.
• Both providers of energy services (public sector, private sector) and the beneficiaries (agriculture,
small business, industry, health, education, etc.) must be involved at all levels (local, national).
Design Effective Regulatory Framework. ‘Pro-poor’ energy policies will need to be implemented within a
regulatory framework that prioritizes the provision of energy services to poor communities and rural areas.
Regulatory frameworks should be designed to use energy as an instrument to effectively deliver social
needs, stimulate productive activities, enable work that adds value in agriculture and services, and spur
economic growth. Sustained political commitment is required to create a framework of market conditions
amenable to energy-based approaches to poverty reduction. Macroeconomic policies and fiscal management should encourage economic diversification, the diversification of energy resource portfolios, the participation of communities and a larger number of private entrepreneurs in delivery systems, and the most
efficient use of these resources through market incentives.
Reduce Costs through Financing Mechanisms and Subsidies.
• Economic barriers limiting access to energy services by the poor can come in a range of patterns. The
poor also often pay a much higher share of their disposable income (20 to 30 per cent) for energy
services than the higher income groups (5 to10 per cent). In other cases, high capital expenditures or
recurring costs, irregular incomes, lack of access to credit, lack of legal residential status, and lack of
formal legal assets for collateral can prevent the poor from obtaining energy services. Innovative
financing and microfinance institutions also represent a very important development tool.
• Therefore, it is recommended to:
- improve the affordability, availability and safety of energy services for increasing access; and
- create incentives to increase generation capacity and invest in distribution infrastructure to serve
a larger population.
Enhance Human Capacity through Education, Training, and Research. Action at regional level can go a long
way towards overcoming the shortage of skilled human resources in rural and urban areas. To support
national and regional infrastructure development, as well as consumer-responsive service delivery systems,
education and training programmes are needed for skilled technicians, planners, entrepreneurs, financial
services and community workers.
Action must be taken to build the capacities required to devise harmonized political and institutional
frameworks that rank energy as a national priority, and to develop coherent energy policies and programmes geared towards reducing poverty. Information and awareness raising is necessary for a broad
range of actors:
• Staff in public institutions in member States, local authorities and attached services and agencies;
• Public or private operators working at local level (producers, energy system users and equipment
manufacturers and fitters);
• Civil society organizations and consumer representatives (cooperatives, NGOs, consumer associations, trade organizations, etc.).
Highlighting successful local experiences can help to draw attention to existing energy poverty issues and costeffective solutions.
• Regional bodies can help create work methods that avoid the failure of policies attempting to reproduce schemes and models conceived elsewhere.
• There is a strong need within the member States to develop national strategies of energy access based
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
on their own experiences. Small/medium-scale interesting experiences have been developed in the
Region, especially through initiatives as MEPRED, EUEI, GVEP, etc. Those experiences need to be
shared and scaled-up to allow a large access to energy.
Regional Initiatives to Scale-up Energy Access for Economic and Human Development
(UNDP, 2006a): This document draws heavily on two papers presented at GFSE in 2006: “Regional initiatives to scale up energy
access for economic and human development. Sharing lessons learned: The case of the ECOWAS”; “Regional initiatives to increase
energy access: the case of the East African Community”.
(UNDP, 2006a): This document draws heavily on two papers presented at GFSE in 2006: “Regional initiatives to scale up energy
access for economic and human development. Sharing lessons learned: The case of the ECOWAS”; “Regional initiatives to increase
energy access: the case of the East African Community”.
(UN-Energy, 2005): The Energy challenge for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), United Nations, UNEnergy, 2005, p. 3.
(ECOWAS, 2006a) ECOWAS White Paper for a Regional Policy, p. 15.
(UNDP, 2007): United Nations Development Programme; Energizing Poverty Reduction: A Review of the Energy-Poverty Nexus in
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers; NY; 2007.
(EAC, 2006a) East African Development Strategy 2006-2010, p. 14.
(EAC, 2006b) See pages 55-61 of the East African Development Strategy 2006-2010.
(ECA, 2006c): For further details: East African Development Strategy 2006-210, pp. 67-68.
(UNDP, 2006b): Expanding access to modern energy services, replicating, scaling-up and mainstreaming at the local level: Lessons
from community based energy initiatives, UNDP, 2006, p. 7.
(ECOWAS, 2006b): White Paper for a Regional Policy, p. 36.
(Abeeku et al., 2006): Study on the regional agency for energy access, Abeeku Brew-Hammond, Sabine Häusler and Mansour
Assani Dahuenon, ECOWAS, UEMOA, 2006, p. 1.
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
Chapter 5
Investment in Electricity
for Development
The World Bank
1. Introduction
In this short chapter, we discuss first the role of reliable and affordable electricity in underpinning economic development and in enabling the achievement of the MDGs in health and education. We then
review some estimates of investment requirements for energy needs in sub Saharan Africa. In the next
section we discuss briefly how financing sources for investment in the sector in sub-Saharan Africa are
constrained. In the main and final section we list priority policies, which, if implemented, can help overcome these constraints so that increased amounts of investment begin to flow into the sector, resulting in
the desired improvement in electricity services.
2. Why investment in the electricity sector is a priority
The economic transformation of Africa is one of the great challenges of our time. Africa’s slow and
erratic growth performance has been identified as the single most important reason behind its lagging
position in eradicating poverty (Estache, 2006).
African policy-makers recognize that boosting economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is dependent
to a large extent, on expanding energy infrastructure along with transport and other infrastructure.
Adequate, reliable and affordable energy services are not of course the only condition for growth. Fair
business regulations and their enforcement; stability of the macroeconomy; protection of property rights;
the proper functioning of the financial system, human capital and technological progress are also important conditions. However, it is a fact that most African countries urgently need greatly increased levels of
electricity services and modern liquid fuels in order to raise the productivity and competitiveness of business to enable the delivery of education and health services and to provide households with lighting and
cooking energy.
At the firm level, costly and unreliable electricity services directly influences costs of production; at
the industry level it often relates to market structure and competition. The effects are felt more heavily in traded sectors than in primary production and extractive resource sectors because the former tend to
more intensively require “inputs” of logistics, infrastructure and regulation. They are ruinous for smallscale and medium-scale manufacturing that are less able to cope (by having their own stand-by
36 Written by the Energy Unit for sub-Saharan Africa
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
generation) with poor electricity service than large-scale manufacturing. Whenever firms, (whether big or
small) are forced to allocate investment funds in generators, their productive investment will be reduced
and their operating costs will increase (Ndulu et al., 2005).
MDGs in education and health will be difficult to achieve in countries where the majority of schools
and health clinics lack electricity and fuel. Sterilization of equipment, clean water supply and refrigeration of essential medicines are impaired in health facilities without adequate electricity. For example, in
Kenya only 50 per cent of the health centers are connected to electrical supply and 20 per cent must rely
on stand-by generators. Unavailable electricity service is a disincentive for teachers, doctors, and nurses to
reside in rural areas, further undermining the delivery of these services. Many poor households in Africa
do not have modern lighting that would facilitate reading, studying and safety after dark. Education of
children is impaired for lack of adequate illumination in poor households that rely on candles or simple
kerosene lamps that are unsafe in the confined interiors of African homes.
The crisis has many causes, including inadequate tariff levels, the drought that has reduced available
hydropower capacity for long periods in east and west Africa, destruction of systems in countries during
conflicts, poor utility management resulting in inappropriate investment choices and excessive technical
and commercial losses. Serious under-investment in electricity infrastructure in the 1990s and early 2000s
is mainly responsible for just 32 GW of generation capacity being installed in SSA (not including South
Africa) for a population of 680 million whereas Latin America with a population of 541 million has
installed capacity of nearly six times larger (200 GW).
3. Investment costs
The Commission for Africa estimated that Africa need to spend an additional US$20 billion a year
on infrastructure investments and maintenance until 2015 to sustain a growth rate of 7 per cent
(CFA, 2005). The electricity sector would account for about a quarter of this. Other sources have estimated the investment needs to be much greater. The IEA for example estimates that US$344 billion is
required in new electricity infrastructure that translates into more than US$13 billion per annum (WEA,
2006). Investment costs are made of costs for generation rehabilitation and additional capacity, for
upgrading and extending transmission and distribution networks, for mini-grid and off-grid supply and
for household connections (the “drop” from the low voltage network to the customer’s meter.) Customers’
own costs are additional to these and include the cost of in-house wiring. For households that will not
be provided with electricity service either by means of grid or off-grid supply, we may consider the cost of
modern lighting technologies.
To say that the electricity sector is capital intensive is to state the obvious. Household connection
costs can range from US$200 per connection in peri-urban areas where a grid has already been constructed but more often reaches to US$1,500 per connection in Africa, when the grid must be extended to villages that are remote from the existing grid (World Bank, 2006). Unit costs for new generation capacity
vary with technology and range from roughly US$700 million per MW in the case of gas to US$1,500
per MW in the case of coal. In the case of hydro, costs are site specific, but can range from US$1,000 per
MW to as much as US$5,000. Rehabilitation of existing thermal and hydro capacity costs upwards of
US$300 per MW. The unit cost of mini-grid and off-grid options is usually in the range of US$800 to
US$1,200 per household connection. Construction of a 200kV transmission line may cost US$300
thousand per kilometer.
Investment in Electricity for Development
Approximately US$4 billion per annum is needed to increase household electricity access to 35 per
cent37 by 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa. In order to achieve this electrification rate, almost 26 million new
household connections would need to be made by means off-grid, mini-grid and off-grid extensions. This
scale-up implies roughly US$4 billion per annum for access in generation capacity, transmission and distribution networks and in off-grid electricity supply. If this level of investment was maintained through
2030, an overall household electrification rate of 47 per cent by 2030, implying 76 million new connections is achievable. This estimate uses common approximate values for unit costs for all countries and
makes conservative assumptions of demand for newly connected urban and rural households (0.58 kW
and 0.25 kW at system peak, respectively) reflecting conditions commonly encountered in Africa. In the
case of rural households, this level of demand is typically associated with electricity consumption for basic
lighting needs and for a few small appliances. The estimate includes investment to provide a modern
lighting package based on renewable energy technology for about 50 per cent of the population that will
not be provided with electricity service.
4. Financing electricity access
The public sector will remain an important – and often the main – source of financing for investment over the medium-term for the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa where the country or regulatory risk deters private investors (UN-Energy, 2005). However, in the case of large generation
projects especially those that serve regional needs, private investment will be essential. In most
countries in sub-Saharan Africa power sector investments are funded much differently from middleincome countries in other regions, due to country risk factors, and financial constraints and credit-worthiness issues. In middle-income countries in Asia and Latin America, source of sector investments include
public sector financing (equity, debt, or subsidies), private sector financing (equity, debt, self-financing
from revenues), and community and users’ contribution. In many low-income countries in sub-Saharan
Africa by contrast, internal cash generation as a source of investment funds is very limited because of low
tariff levels and poor collection that result in utilities not covering even their O&M costs, much less generating profits that would allow them to invest in expansion of their networks. IFIs, ECAs and bilateral
donors play an important role in financing new investments in these countries. Government support in
the form of grants, equity contributions and debt also play an important role in some of these countries
depending on the Government’s fiscal circumstances.
In Africa, private participation and private sources of funds (both debt and equity) have been
extremely limited but are reviving. Private sector participation—(investment, management, etc.)
will be necessary to complement public electrification programmes. In most countries private sector
debt and equity investment leveraged by guarantee instruments of IFIs will be critical to developing large
generation projects needed. In the case of electricity distribution entities that are loss making the scope
for outright sale to a private sector investor is extremely limited. However, management contracts and
distribution business outsourcing under which a selected part of the distribution network or a customer
cluster would be ring-fenced and outsourced to a private party for a 3 to 5 year period can support
increased efficiency and be a first step in bringing private sector investment in the distribution business.
Finally, the delivery of lighting systems to households and small businesses that do not have electricity
service should be based on programmes that rely on private sector led market development as well as on
consumer credit mechanisms that are geared to low income households.
37 This is a national rate that does not reflect official national targets. Recently, targets for access to modern energy services (as distinct
from access to electricity service) have been developed by the Regional Economic Communities (c.f. UNDP chapter in this publication).
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
5. Policies to support investment in the electricity sector
The role of government in undertaking broad-based reforms is key to closing, if not eliminating the
financing gap. All countries that have been successful in bridging the electricity sector financing gap have
done so through: good governance, both at the policy and utility level; maintaining a financially healthy
power sector characterized by a self-financing capacity for new investments within the sector of at least 30
per cent38; a combined focus on both supply and demand-side opportunities; and facilitating trade to keep
the cost of supply low. Good governance and transparency at the state and corporate level are the keys to
attracting foreign and domestic investors in the sector. The combination of good billing and collections
practices with reasonable pricing policies provides the financial liquidity within the sector and enables
both public and privately-owned power companies to gain access to capital to meet investment needs. The
combination of an enabling environment that allows non-payers to be disconnected and good governance
to implement this policy has consistently been the hallmark of successful power companies and financially healthy power sectors. Utilities that achieve a self-financing capability of at least 30 per cent generally
manage to meet the remaining investment needs through debt, or through the purchase of services from
private suppliers and keep demand and supply in balance. Public sector resources will remain crucial for
investing in energy service delivery for the poorest groups and marginal areas due to private sector perception of risk, even within reformed markets. Governments should create fiscal space for these investments,
so that other publicly financed programmes that benefit the poor are not displaced by them under the
general scarcity of public financial resources.
Improved regulatory systems can support electrification. Four general principles are recommended to
create regulatory systems that will “help” rather than “hurt” electrification: adopt light-handed and simplified regulation; enable the national or regional regulator to “contract out” or delegate, either temporarily or permanently, regulatory tasks to other
government or non-government entities; allow the regulator to vary the nature of its regulation depending on the entity that is being regulated and the technology that is used by that entity; and promote realistic, affordable, monitorable and enforceable quality of service standards (Reiche et al., 2006). The latter
also provide governments a way to balance tariffs with services and provide stronger rationale for consumer satisfaction when inevitable tariff increases have to be made.
In undertaking large programmes of electrification institutional arrangements are less important
than adherence to sound commercial principles. Experience from countries that have successfully and
rapidly scaled up electricity access, point to the need for an inter-ministerial and/or interdisciplinary
mechanism supported by a dedicated agency that can tackle the local nature of many challenges for delivering electricity services. A review of ten successful rural electrification programmes in diverse countries
showed that success does not necessarily depend on the nature and form of the dedicated institutional
arrangement. In successful countries, these arrangements have varied from rural electric cooperatives
(Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Philippines), public companies (Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia), private distributors
(Chile), and decentralized power companies (China). The cases reveal that success relies more on adhering to strict business principles in distribution company operations than on the specific institutional
mechanisms used (Barnes, 2007).
38 For example Vietnam managed to be successful at meeting annual electricity demand growth of 16 per cent per annum over 10 years
and now has achieved 92 per cent household electricity access rate. The power company EVN maintained a sound billings and collection systems, while the Government maintained price levels sufficient to enable the power company to maintain its ability to self-finance
30-50 per cent of investments from internally generated cash. The financial health of the sector also enabled private sector financing in
generation (IPPs).
Investment in Electricity for Development
Energy issues and electricity development should be mainstreamed into PRSPs and other country
development strategies. Many PRSPs development strategies treat energy only within the context of
large-scale infrastructure projects. They also tend to focus only on electricity while ignoring issues such as
fuel availability and energy access which are of greatest importance to the poor. Less than half of all PRSPs
in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, include explicit targets and timelines to meet the energy priorities of
the poor. Only one third of the PRSPs actually allocate budgetary resources to national energy priorities
in their Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). The country energy plans, either at the sector or
subsector level, rarely have a special focus on poverty reduction, even when they are well integrated with
national development objectives. Enhanced coordination of energy development programmes with social
and economic development programmes is needed to ensure that the poor benefit fully from greater access
to energy services.
Low cost technologies can reduce the costs of electrification. Many African countries have inherited
European standards for their distribution networks, standards that were adopted for high density, high
demand centers in continental Europe. This has often resulted in oversized networks with unnecessarily
high costs for connecting rural loads. In spite of these problems, some countries in Africa, especially
Tunisia and South Africa, have been addressing these issues through an active pursuit of measures to
decrease the costs per connection and in the process developing their own locally adapted low-cost standards. In Tunisia, the utility STEG concluded that the 4-wire system was less expensive by 18 to 24 per
cent than a 3-wire MV system and adopted Mise-A-La-Terre (MALT referring to the grounded neutral)
as their network of choice. In Ghana, shield wire system that uses the existing shield wires on the top of
the transmission lines as power conductors costs about 15 per cent of a conventional power line. Single
wire earth return systems (used in Australia for example) can save 30 per cent - 50per cent of the network
cost compared to conventional systems and are particularly applicable to lightly loaded rural networks
over long distances. Appropriate engineering that takes a no-frills approach can reduce construction costs
by 30 per cent to 50 per cent and is based on accurate estimates of electrical loads, upgradeable networks,
making all assets, especially transformers work at optimal capacity and ensuring that every single component that is installed on a network is really required. The use of “ready-boards” (in Swaziland for example) that comes complete with circuit breakers, socket outlets and a light can mean a huge cost saving
for the householder who does not have to install fixed wiring in their home.
Demand management, optimal generation planning, electricity trade across countries and joint
investments in regional projects can significantly reduce the volume of incremental investment
needs. Increased support for energy efficiency is essential to meet growing demands in a sustainable manner. Efficiency improvements, demand management, improved planning and operation and increased
electricity trade could be used to moderate the volume of investments needed and thus help bridge the
supply-demand gap. This includes energy efficiency actions at the household level; in the building,
industrial and agricultural sectors; in power generation and transmission; and in transportation.
There is need for greater alignment and harmonization of IFI and bilateral support for electricity
sector development. Most donor financing for electricity access is channeled to governments on a project by project basis. Multiple projects do not favour the development of a coherent national energy sector policy and lead to fragmentation, duplication of efforts, unbalanced sectoral development (at geographical and subsectoral level), and high transactions costs. There is a clear imperative that donor support for energy access programmes move to a more coordinated country led approach that would be funded through sector-wide financing syndications of investment programmes. This approach would entail the
use of pooled funding that would be pledged to a long-term (15 year) expenditure programme and would
embrace multiple activities in electrification (grid, off-grid, stand-alone lighting). Large regional genera87
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
tion and transmission projects that are more suitable to a project approach would be harmonized with
such a sector wide approach for energy access. Regional projects require innovative and coordinated support among IFIs, bilaterals and the private sector, given the very large capital needs.
Electrification programmes need to be well integrated into programmes of national and rural development so that investments are prioritized to areas where electrification will bring about the greatest
returns (e.g., improved farm productivity in areas where there is potential for electricity to replace diesel
driven motors in irrigation).
Sector subsidies should be redirected to promoting access for poor households. Subsidies in the
electricity sector come in various sizes and shapes and are financed in different ways. They include crosssubsidies between categories of customers, low interest rates on loans to state owned utility companies,
and government budgetary support for rural electrification funds. There is no justification for subsidies
to utility companies which should in any case operate according to commercial principles. Neither is
there any justification for low tariffs that usually benefit richer households although there may be some
justification for a “lifeline” tariff for the 1st block of monthly consumption. Subsidies should be easy to
administer (efficient), have an impact on the desired population (effective), and reach the poorest of society (equitable). Worldwide, all rural electrification programmes have involved some form of subsidy.
Subsidy schemes for electrification are more sustainable when applied to the capital investment rather
than to the ongoing operating and maintenance costs. Financing and credit mechanisms that allow the
initial costs (meter deposit and other costs) for new utility customers to be spread over time can promote
electrification by making it more affordable for poor households. Helping and protecting poor households
requires governments to balance short-term support in terms of subsidies with the longer-term need to let
market forces influence the choice of fuels and energy practices, and also to let sound fiscal policies influence government funding of subsidies.
Large regional hydro and thermal generation plants offer economies of scale that can reduce the current high cost of power supply to distribution utilities in many SSA countries. These generation projects
will require associated investments in regional transmission interconnections. Regional projects require
innovative and coordinated support among IFIs, bilaterals and the private sector given very large capital
needs. Expanded donor support is needed for project preparation and for the critical need of strengthened
capacity-building to design and implement such coordinated investment programmes.
Electrification programmes should support grid, mini-grid and off-grid supply options. Country
factors such as population density, spatial distribution, topographical characteristics and rural-urban drift
will determine the relative proportions of grid and off-grid solutions that are least cost. In SSA and in the
countries of Asia where there are large populations of urban dwellers without access, grid extension will
be the least cost option for a large share of the households that will be provided with access in the medium-term. In countries where rural access rates are already high, mini-grid and off-grid supply will be the
least cost option to reach the remaining isolated communities that do not have access.
Use of geo-reference information can facilitate analysis of the least cost option of supplying the electricity needs in rural areas. High capital costs are the chief disincentive to supplying grid electricity to
rural areas. Use of geo-reference information of settlements can help determine whether grid extension or
a decentralized supply such as by solar PV is least cost, depending upon the size of the requirements and
costs of a grid connection. It is often the case that rural populations are much more nucleated than commonly assumed. In some countries, spatial analysis reveals that rural households have a nucleated settlement pattern and that the spatial distribution of villages is such that extension of the national grid would
Investment in Electricity for Development
be the least-cost option of providing electricity access to the majority of the unelectrified population. In
the case of Senegal, such analysis has shown that grid electrification is the least-cost option for close to 80
per cent of the non-electrified rural population.
Electricity access strategies should target public facilities, such as schools, health clinics, and communications that benefit the whole population in a rural area. The reason why these facilities are not
properly equipped with energy services is usually because of poor planning and because investment programmes in the health and education sectors are often not aligned with those for provision of electricity.
Electrification of public facilities such as schools and clinics through grid and off-grid solutions with
donor support could be implemented through a focused campaign approach that would see the retrofitting of the majority of facilities in 5 to 7 year programmes. Participation of all key stakeholders, including the private sector, would be needed for these programmes to succeed.
(Estache, 2006): Africa’s infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities, Estache. Paper presented at the high-level seminar: Realizing
the Potential for Profitable Investment in Africa, Tunis, February 28 – March 1, 2006.
(Ndulu et al., 2005): Infrastructure, Regional Integration and Growth in sub-Saharan Africa, Ndulu, Kritzinger-van Niekerk and
Reinikka from “Infrastructure and Economic Growth”, In: Journal of Development. Economics, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 2,
pp. 443-77.
(CFA, 2005): Our Common Interest, Report of the Commission for Africa, 2005. www.commissionforafrica.org/
(WEA, 2006): World Energy Outlook, 2006. International Energy Agency
(World Bank, 2006): An Investment Framework for Clean Energy and Development: A Progress Report, World Bank, September 1,
(UNEnergy, 2005): The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. UN Energy. 2005.
(Reiche et al., 2006): Electrification and Regulation: Principles and a Model Law, Reiche, Tenenbaum and Torres de Mästle,
Energy and Mining Sector Board Discussion Paper No 18, 2006, World Bank.
(Barnes, 2007): Meeting the Challenge of Rural Electrification in Developing Nations: The Experience of Successful Programmes,
Barnes, World Bank, forthcoming.
the original version of this publication had graphics on the front page, and at
the beginning of each chapter. That version was 10.6 mb. The graphics
have been removed for this online version to bring down the size to 1.3mb.
Chapter 6
Fostering Medium- and Long-term
Energy Planning and Prospects for
Nuclear Energy in Africa
International Atomic Energy Agency39
1. Energy and sustainable development
Energy is and will continue to be a primary engine for economic development. The opening paragraph
of the Commission on Sustainable Development’s (CSD) 2001 decision on energy says simply that,
“Energy is central to achieving the goals of sustainable development” (UN 2001). The linkage is echoed
in the Secretary-General’s report to the fourteenth session of the CSD five years later.
“Socio-economic development requires energy for improved living standards, enhanced productivity, the transport of goods to markets and as input to a wide range of other economic activities. The transition from traditional energy sources – notably traditional biomass – to modern
energy sources is associated with a variety of social benefits, including improving the health, wellbeing and income generating opportunities of women and facilitating access to employment,
education and social services in both urban and rural areas. Extending access to affordable, cleaner energy is thus integral to the process of social and economic development. It contributes to
addressing the cross-cutting issues of poverty eradication, improved health and gender equity.”
(UN 2006a)
Both the quality and quantity of energy are important. Reliance on human power, draft animals and traditional fuels cannot sustain the same level of economic activity as ready access to refined petroleum products and electricity.
Moreover, energy systems have grown more complex over time, particularly with urbanization and
industrialization. Modern manufacturing and service industries, and today’s urban environments, rely
especially on electricity — a computer cannot run on coal. All demographic projections anticipate continued urbanization, which together with economic development will cause electricity needs to grow even
faster than energy needs in general.
39 Written by Planning and Economic Studies Section
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Figure 1. Human development index and per capita electricity consumption (UNDP (2005).
index (HDI)
15000 20000
25000 30000 35000
The per capita consumption of electricity correlates well with a country’s social well-being as measured
by the UN Human Development Index (HDI), a composite index based on measures of health, longevity, education, and economic standards of living (UNDP 2005).
Figure 1 plots the HDIs of 43 countries against their per capita electricity use. An HDI of 0.8 or higher
corresponds to almost 3000 kWh per capita and an HDI greater than 0.9 to more than 6,000 kWh per
However, Figure 1 shows only national averages, which hide the reality that an estimated one quarter of
the world’s population today — 1.6 billion people — have no access to electricity (IEA 2004). Ensuring
such access — ‘connecting the unconnected’ — has been highlighted by the CSD as an essential task for
advancing sustainable development. This access has been further emphasized by UN-Energy as a requirement for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (see Box 1). The MDGs were established
at the 2000 Millennium Summit to “form a blueprint [for development] agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions” (UN 2006b). UN-Energy was created after
WSSD to coordinate energy related activities throughout the UN system.
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
Box 1. “Main Messages ”
• Energy services such as lighting, heating, cooking, motive power, mechanical power, transport
and telecommunications are essential for socioeconomic development, since they yield social
benefits and support the generation of income and employment.
• The poor obtain energy services by gaining access to modern fuels, electricity and mechanical
power. This access is particularly important for women and girls since they are often the most
affected by inadequate energy services.
• Reforms to the energy sector should protect the poor, especially the 1.1 billion people who live
on less than US$1 per day, and should take gender inequalities into account in recognizing that
the majority of the poor are women.
• The environmental sustainability of energy supply and consumption should be enhanced to
reduce environmental and health hazards. This requires measures that increase energy efficiency,
introduce modern technologies for energy production and use, substitute cleaner fuels for
polluting fuels, and introduce renewable energy.
• Large amounts of financial resources need to be mobilized for expanding energy investments and
services in developing countries. They account for a much larger share of gross domestic product
compared with OECD countries. Public sector resources will remain crucial for investing in
energy service delivery for the poor due to the private sector’s limited appetite for risk in emerging markets.
• The role of energy and the costs of energy services should be factored into overall national
economic and social development strategies, including poverty reduction strategies and MDG
campaigns, as well as to donor programmes in order to reach development goals. Energy planning
must be linked to goals and priorities in other sectors.
Source: The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (UN-Energy 2005)
2. IAEA capacity-building for energy system analysis
Analytical approaches and specific tools
The previous section argued that access to clean and affordable energy services is essential for sustainable
development. Expanding access to such services requires careful planning. Poor planning in the past has
led to adverse environmental impacts ranging from local deforestation driven partly by firewood consumption, to global warming driven largely by CO2 emissions from energy use. All countries do not have
equal access to energy planning expertise and tools. OECD countries and some others have plenty of university departments, government departments, think tanks, and consulting firms to analyze policy options
and future alternative strategies. Other countries do not have those resources but are interested in analyzing and planning with the same sophistication, modern tools and know-how. This section describes a set
of analytical tools (models) developed or adapted by the IAEA, principally for such member States. The
IAEA develops and transfers these models on request. It transfers the latest data on technologies, resources
and economics. It trains local experts. It jointly analyzes national options and interprets results. The objective is capacity-building, i.e. to establish the continuing local planning expertise necessary to chart national paths to sustainable development.
Table 1, contains aggregated numbers of total releases to Agency Member States for each corresponding
model. The models are periodically peer reviewed, and model enhancements are implemented based on
priorities agreed with the user community.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Table 1: Numbers of IAEA Energy Model Releases to member States
Releases to
member States
ENPEP – Energy and Power Evaluation Programme
FINPLAN – Model for Financial Analysis of Electric Sector Expansion Plans
MAED – Model for Analysis of Energy Demand
MESSAGE – Model of Energy Supply Strategies and their General Environmental Impacts
SIMPACTS – Simplified Approach for Estimating Impacts of Electricity Generation
WASP – Wien Automatic System Planning Package
112 Member States are using the IAEA’s Energy Models
Model for Assessment of Energy Demand (MAED)
The starting point for using MAED is the reconstruction of base year energy use patterns (IAEA 2006a).
This requires the establishment of an energy balance by fuels and sectors, reconciling data from different
sources and adjusting various input parameters to be consistent with the base year energy balance. This
helps calibrate the model to the specific situation of the country.
MAED then calculates future energy demand based on medium- to long-term scenarios of socio-economic, technological and demographic developments. Energy demand is disaggregated into a large number of
end-use categories, each one corresponding to a given service or to the production of a certain good. The
demands for goods and services are dependent on population growth, household size, transportation preferences, efficiency improvements, the spread of new technologies or fuels, etc. Future trends for these
determining factors are exogenously specified and introduced into the model. The key to plausible and
useful scenarios is internal consistency of assumptions, especially for social, economic development and
technological change. The model then provides a systematic accounting framework for evaluating the
effect on energy demand of all these driving factors.
Special attention is given to the calculation of electricity demand, which is performed not only annually
as for all other fuels, but also on an hourly basis. These calculations in turn, can serve as input to the
WASP, ENPEP or MESSAGE models described below. These calculations determine the electric load,
which will then permit WASP to select suitable generation technologies that match the variation in
demand within a year or season.
Wien Automatic System Planning Package (WASP)
WASP is the IAEA’s long-standing model for analyzing electricity generation system expansion plans.
Initially developed in the 1970s, it has been enhanced and upgraded over time to match emerging needs.
WASP finds the least-cost expansion plan for a power generating system over a long period and within
specified constraints defined by the analyst (e.g. system reliability, fuel availability and emission limits).
The user first inputs the technical, economic and environmental characteristics of all power plants within the existing system. Then for any projected annual demand for electricity, WASP explores all possible
sequences of capacity additions that satisfy demand while meeting the constraints. To identify the leastcost strategy, each sequence is evaluated according to a cost function composed of capital investment costs,
fuel costs, operation and maintenance costs, fuel inventory costs, the salvage value of investments and the
cost of energy demand not served.
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
Energy and Power Evaluation Programme (ENPEP)
The ENPEP model is designed to simulate energy markets by determining the long-term energy supply
and demand balance for a given country. The model takes into account all energy production, conversion,
transport, distribution, and utilization activities in the country as well as the flows of energy and fuels
among those activities. The model uses a non-linear, equilibrium approach to balance energy supply and
demand. This equilibrium modeling approach is based on the concept that the energy sector consists of
autonomous energy producers and consumers seeking to maximize their benefits. However, their decisions are made within system boundaries determined by government policies, regulations, existing capital stock, new technological opportunities, personal preferences, etc.
For its simulation, the model uses an energy network designed to trace the flow of energy from primary
resource (e.g. crude oil, coal) through to final energy demand (e.g. diesel, fuel oil) and/or useful energy
demand (e.g. residential hot water, industrial process steam). The model solves simultaneously for the
demand-supply intersections of all forms of energy in the energy system. The equilibrium is reached when
the model finds a set of prices and quantities that satisfies all relevant equations and inequalities. Since
energy purchase decisions are not always solely based on price, premium multipliers are used in the model
to simulate the preference that consumers may have for some commodities over others. In addition, the
model uses a lag parameter to simulate the time that is required for prices and demands to reach an equilibrium or balance. In general, capital-intensive industries have longer lag times than those that require
relatively smaller capital investments.
Environmental considerations are also taken into account by calculating the emissions of various pollutants arising from a given fuel mix at each stage. The model then calculates the environmental costs associated with these emissions and adds these to the energy costs.
Model for Energy Supply Systems and their General Environmental Impacts (MESSAGE)
MESSAGE is designed to evaluate alternative energy supply strategies and to find the least-cost strategy
given available technologies, resources, policy goals and policy constraints. Technologies are defined by
their inputs and outputs, their efficiency, and the degree of variability if more than one input or output
exists, e.g. the possible production patterns of a refinery or cogeneration plant. Technologies and associated fuels are combined to construct ‘energy chains’ along which the energy flows from resource extraction to demand for energy services.
The model takes into account existing installations, their vintage structure and their retirement.
Investment requirements can be distributed over a plant’s construction period and subdivided to reflect
more accurately requirements from significant industrial and commercial sectors. Requirements for basic
materials and non-energy inputs can also be accounted for by tracing their flow from the relevant originating industries. Environmental aspects can be analyzed by keeping track of, and if necessary limiting,
the amounts of pollutants emitted by various technologies at each step of the energy chains. This helps to
evaluate the impact of environmental regulations on energy system development.
The most powerful feature of MESSAGE is that constraints and links can be defined among all types of
technology-related variables. One technology can be limited in relation to other technologies (e.g. a maximum share of wind energy that can be handled in an electricity network); limits can be set on a group
of technologies (e.g. a common limit on SO2 and thus on technologies emitting SO2); and constraints
can be defined between production and installed capacity (e.g. take-or-pay clauses in international gas
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
contracts). The model is extremely flexible and can also be used to analyze energy/electricity markets, climate change issues including greenhouse gas mitigation, local air quality or regional acidification.
Model for Financial Analysis of Electric Sector Expansion Plans (FINPLAN)
FINPLAN is designed to evaluate the financial implications of an expansion plan for a power generating
system. The model evaluates the consequences of adding a set of power plants, over a given time period,
on the overall financial performance of the company. The model can also be used to analyze the financial
viability of a single plant in specified market conditions.
Inputs to the model are: (1) data specific to the expansion plan, such as the types, sizes and timing of
power plant additions and investment, fuel and operating costs; (2) economic and fiscal parameters, such
as inflation, exchange rates, prices and taxes; and (3) financial parameters defining financing possibilities
such as fixed-rate credits/loans, variable-rate loans, bonds and equity.
For developing countries, arranging funds in foreign exchange is an added difficulty. The model treats all
expenditures in two currencies, one foreign and the other local, and the impact of future exchange rate
changes is analyzed accordingly.
In addition to calculating discounted cash flows, the model generates various standard financial statements such as sources and allocation of funds, current accounts of revenues and expenditures, income
statements and balance sheets. It also computes financial ratios that can be used as indicators for the financial status and creditworthiness of a company, i.e. working capital, equipment renewal, leverage, grossprofit rate, debt repayment time, exchange rate risk, break-even point, and interest charge weight.
The model does not optimize the financing package. The user identifies financial equilibrium through an
iterative process. While this is more time consuming, it also permits flexibility for creative financial proposals.
Simplified Approach for Estimating Impacts of Electricity Generation (SIMPACTS)
SIMPACTS consists of separate modules for estimating the impact of energy facilities on human health,
agricultural crops and buildings resulting from routine atmospheric emissions of pollutants. It covers fossil fuelled electricity generation, nuclear energy and hydropower installations. It first estimates physical
damages and health impacts, then provides a monetary valuation of these damages and calculates external
costs associated with different energy supply strategies. A decision-aiding module permits comparisons of
the relative merits of different technologies based on a set of criteria. The key advantage of SIMPACTS is
its simplicity. It is designed for use with a minimum of data input as compared to other external cost models that are complex and require large amounts of data.
For airborne pollution, whether from fossil fuelled or nuclear energy plants, the model uses the impactpathway approach. In this approach, the emission source is characterized and an inventory of airborne
releases is prepared. The changes in ambient concentrations of various pollutants are estimated using
atmospheric dispersion models, and in the case of radioactive emissions or deposits, exposure response
functions are used to relate the change in pollutant concentration to a physical impact on the relevant
receptors. In the case of hydropower, the model offers a simplified approach to estimate the loss of land,
population displacement, and emissions during construction from hydro dams as well as the impacts from
dam failures. Finally, all the impacts and burdens are monetized and aggregated.
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
The model also allows a user to make a range of external cost estimates ranging from rough to quite accurate, depending on the availability of data. Given the high uncertainties involved in any estimation of
external costs, SIMPACTS produces results well within the range of more complex models.
Indicators for Sustainable Energy Development (ISED)
Because the objectives of sustainable development are very broad, governments and policy makers need a
set of quantifiable parameters (indicators) to measure and monitor important changes and significant
progress towards the achievement of these objectives. This was recognized in Agenda 21, which specifically (Chapter 40) requires that countries and international governmental and non-governmental organizations develop the concept of Indicators of Sustainable Development (ISD).
In 1995, the CSD initiated a worldwide programme on ISD. The CSD’s expert group on ISD uses a conceptual framework that emphasizes policy issues and themes related to sustainable development. The current version of the ISD package has 57 indicators, which are classified into four dimensions, 15 themes
and 38 subthemes. Energy is a subtheme with three indicators.
The IAEA-led project on Indicators for Sustainable Energy Development (ISED) represents an independent energy module that fits into the ISD system (see Table 2). The ISED use as inputs or components a
number of indicators from the CSD umbrella scheme already included in other areas that are also relevant to the energy sector. In addition, data parameters and indicators that are not part of the ISD package but that are necessary to build the ISED are also used as inputs. Countries have the option of selecting the energy indicators in the specific areas or themes (e.g. energy security, intensity, affordability) that
better reflect their policy priorities (i.e. countries do not need to implement all the indicators).
The ISED scheme has a variety of practical applications. First, the indicators present statistical information on energy system changes (environmental, economic and energy efficiency performance) over time,
provide a snapshot of the current situation of a country, highlight important relationships among different development and policy parameters, and provide statistically consistent tracking of such changes and
relationships as part of general energy statistical analysis. Second, they can gauge the success, or lack thereof, of different practices or policies of the past as well as help users to understand the desirability of certain trends over time and how to adjust them. Here the output of the planning tools presented above may
provide input to ISED, and policy makers can assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their national
energy policy framework in meeting their sustainable development objectives.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Table 2: List of Energy Indicators for Sustainable Development (EISD)
Social Dimension
Energy indicator
Economic Dimension
Use and
Overall Use
Share of households (or population) without electricity or
commercial energy, or heavily dependent on non-commercial
Share of household income spent on fuel and electricity
Household energy use for each income group and
corresponding fuel mix
Accident fatalities per energy produced by fuel chain
Energy use per capita
Energy use per unit of GDP
Efficiency of energy conversion and distribution
Reserves-to-production ratio
Resources-to-production ratio
Industrial energy intensities
Agricultural energy intensities
Service/ commercial energy intensities
Household energy intensities
Transport energy intensities
End Use
(Fuel Mix)
Strategic Fuel
Environmental Dimension
Climate Change ENV1
Air Quality
Water Quality
Soil Quality
Solid Waste
Generation and
Source: IAEA et al. (2005).
Fuel shares in energy and electricity
Non-carbon energy share in energy and electricity
Renewable energy share in energy and electricity
End-use energy prices by fuel and by sector
Net energy import dependency
Stocks of critical fuels per corresponding fuel consumption
GHG emissions from energy production and use per capita
and per unit of GDP
Ambient concentrations of air pollutants in urban areas
Air pollutant emissions from energy systems
Contaminant discharges in liquid effluents from energy
systems including oil discharges
Soil area where acidification exceeds critical load
Rate of deforestation attributed to energy use
Ratio of solid waste generation to units of energy produced
Ratio of solid waste properly disposed of to total generated
solid waste
Ratio of solid radioactive waste to units of energy produced
Ratio of solid radioactive waste awaiting disposal to total
generated solid radioactive waste
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
3. National and regional aspects of
energy planning
In the past, energy system planning was largely restricted to national boundaries. Energy trade with neighbouring countries was often regarded as a last resort. Focusing planning exclusively within national
boundaries, however, ignores many synergies that can be exploited if countries were to adopt a regional
approach to energy planning. Constraining factors, such as sub-critical grid and market capacities, large
unit plant sizes, large distances between demand and supply centers, limited institutional infrastructure
and technical know-how, and workforce requirements, could be alleviated by joint infrastructure and
resource development and sharing. Furthermore, many issues of sustainable energy development such as
energy security and reliability, environmental protection and economic viability may be better advanced
in a regional context. A good example of a regional approach is the West African Gas Pipeline Project,
which in its first stage will make Nigerian gas resources accessible to Benin, Togo and Ghana. Another
example is the Southern African Power Pool — an association of 14 national utilities in the southern
African region. Information and best practice sharing in the field of biofuel production or utilizing
economies of scale or create better negotiating possibilities with suppliers are further benefits of regionalization that may help bring down costs and thus improve the accessibility and affordability of energy
services. In short, infrastructure sharing by two or more countries could reduce economic and financial
constraints and associated financial risks, improve load factors for capital intensive infrastructures, and
make it easier to meet national or international environmental targets.
Regional energy planning does not obviate national energy planning — the latter is an inevitable first step
— it just takes it one step further. For example, in the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania, the IAEA analysis tools were first applied to each country individually. The main objective was
to test the cost-effectiveness of various measures to improve national energy supply security by increasing
each country’s energy self-sufficiency to some specified level. A list of cost-effective measures for each
country was established. In a second round, the three national models were linked with each other (plus
additional energy trade connections to Poland, Finland and Sweden were introduced). With an integrated approach, the same national energy security objectives were achieved at considerably lower costs.
Sharing of Latvia’s large underground gas storage facilities, utilization of Estonia’s shale oil resources or the
joint construction of a nuclear power plant were some of the outcomes resulting from this regional
Regional energy planning is not a panacea but it can identify potential low-cost energy supply
opportunities that would otherwise not be straightforwardly visible in a national context only. While in
any particular situation, there may well be numerous other non-energy considerations that hamper the
actual implementation of regional energy infrastructure projects, it is still important to highlight and
quantify such opportunities so that decision makers can make informed decisions.
4. Current IAEA support for energy system analysis
in Africa
The IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme operates on two-year cycle. It is currently in the first year
of the 2007-2008 cycle, which includes 10 national projects and one regional project assisting African
member States in capacity-building in the area of sustainable energy development planning.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
National projects
The project with Algeria on Sustainable Energy Development and Preparation for Nuclear Power aims to
enhance national capabilities in the area of energy planning and electricity system expansion analysis and
to support national efforts aimed at establishing the country’s first nuclear power plant for electricity
generation. IAEA assistance will help national counterparts at the Ministry of Energy and Mines to develop appropriate methods using IAEA tools such as MAED, ENPEP, and MESSAGE to evaluate the country’s future energy requirements and to establish a long-term balance between energy supply and demand,
along with the formulation of an optimal power system expansion programme up to 2025.
The objective of the project with Botswana on Energy Economics and Electricity Expansion Planning is
to assist the country in developing a medium- to long-term national energy plan by projecting future
energy and electricity demand and analyzing the optimal energy supply mix and optimal expansion plan
for the electric power sector. The national team will be provided training in MAED and MESSAGE, with
subsequent follow-up missions to help conduct a detailed country study.
The objective of the project with Burkina Faso on Energy Demand Planning is to apply IAEA tools to
assess future energy demand and analyze supply options for meeting this demand in a sustainable manner. There is an emphasis on analyzing options for providing clean energy to replace the use of biomass
in households. The role of the IAEA is to provide technical support in terms of analytical tools and training to national energy professionals who will be responsible for the planning activities.
The project with Chad on Sustainable Energy Development aims to establish national capabilities for sustainable energy development planning and to diversify energy production sources. The national team will
be provided IAEA’s analytical tools (MAED and MESSAGE) and training in the use of these tools to carry
out national energy planning studies.
The objective of the project with Ghana on Planning for Sustainable Energy Development is to assist
Ghana in developing a long-term energy plan by determining future energy and electricity demand, the
future optimal energy supply mix and an optimal expansion plan for the electric power sector. The project will incorporate detailed analysis of the role of renewable energy in sustainable energy development
in Ghana. UNIDO will assist in identifying potential sources of renewable energy at the project level. The
national team is responsible for carrying out studies to help formulate the long-term energy plan. A oneweek general training course on MAED was conducted in 2006. In March 2007 a two-week course was
conducted on MAED-El for electricity load projection and on application of WASP for power system
expansion planning.
The goal of the project with Côte d’Ivoire on Energy Planning is to analyze how to change energy consumption patterns to improve health and economic conditions in the country. Currently, fuel use in Côte
d’Ivoire is depleting natural resources, and the lack of energy supplies is hindering socio-economic development. The role of the IAEA is to provide technical support in designing a country case study and to
provide appropriate analytical tools and training to carry out the case study.
The objectives of the project with Libya on Sustainable Energy and Power Planning Study are to build up
local capabilities in the area of energy planning and to conduct comprehensive studies for designing a
national energy strategy that is compatible with sustainable development goals. The studies will cover: (a)
an assessment of future energy and electricity needs for all sectors of the economy; (b) an assessment of
the availability of conventional energy resources and their future potential for expansion; (c) an assessment
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
of the potential role of renewable energy sources and advanced energy technologies, including wind, solar,
nuclear and hydrogen, in meeting future energy needs; (d) the development of alternative energy scenarios and optimal development paths for the energy supply system and the electric system; and (e) an assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of alternative energy scenarios.
The Mauritanian government (Ministère de l’Energie et du Pétrole) and IAEA are implementing a project on Sustainable Energy Development — Strengthening Capacity in Energy Planning to train energy
planners and professionals in the area of sustainable energy development particularly in the analysis of
techno-economic and environmental issues of power system expansion. The planning tools for projecting
energy/electricity demand (MAED) and for analyzing energy systems (MESSAGE) will be used to assess
energy demand through 2025 and establish a long-term supply/demand balance. The expertise will also
help national bodies to develop scenarios appropriate to the country and to evaluate social, economic and
environmental factors related to power generation chains.
The project with Niger on Sustainable Energy Development is being implemented in collaboration with
the Ministry of Mines and Energy. A country study will be carried out to analyze options to reduce fuelwood consumption and to ensure the better use of local resources, thereby helping to reduce the share of
imported energy in the country’s total energy supply. The role of the IAEA is to provide technical support
in designing the case study and to train energy professionals in the use of the IAEA’s analytical tools for
energy planning for sustainable development.
The Sudan began a country study under an IAEA regional project, Sustainable Energy Development in
sub-Saharan Africa during the IAEA’s 2005-2006 project cycle. The Sudan will now carry out an energy
planning study using IAEA planning tools but with the inclusion of nuclear power as an option for electricity expansion plan in the medium- to long-term. Based on this report, the Sudan plans to establish an
Inter-Ministerial Committee for Nuclear Power Planning, supported by a Nuclear Power Implementation
Team (NPIT) with a chairman who will act as the interface with the IAEA for the Nuclear Infrastructure
Development Project. The identified coordinator of the NPIT will be responsible for planning and implementing project activities and coordinating with other ministries and departments and with the IAEA.
Regional project: strengthening planning capabilities for sustainable energy
This regional project includes Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon,
Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra
Leone, South Africa, the Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The overall objective is to enhance the capabilities of the participating States to elaborate national energy strategies for sustainable development. To that end, the project will:
• assist countries in strengthening institutional capabilities for energy planning;
• assist countries in establishing human resources development programmes in the field of energy
• assist countries in conducting national studies on sustainable energy development;
• facilitate comparative assessment studies of electricity supply options using interconnected grids
and related sustainable energy strategies;
• assist countries in strengthening integration at the national level among energy agencies and
national development organs; and
• enhance regional cooperation and networking for energy planning.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Additional IAEA support for energy system analysis in Africa
A study presented at CSD-14 in May 2006, entitled Assessing Policy Options for Increasing the Use of
Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development: Modeling Energy Scenarios for Ghana, looked at generic policies to increase the share of renewable energy in a country’s generation mix, one of the policy goals
called for in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (UN-Energy 2006). The study was a joint effort
of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the IAEA, the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Industrial Development Organization, and the
Energy Commission of Ghana. It analyzed four scenarios using Ghanaian data: a baseline least-cost scenario through 2030, a ‘Portfolio Standard / Renewable Energy Quota’ scenario that required utilities to
generate a certain percentage of their electricity from renewables, a ‘Public Benefit Fund’ scenario that
created a fund through a levy on electricity transmission that was then used to partly finance renewable
energy projects, and a Clean Development Mechanism scenario that sold on the international market the
certified emission reductions generated by renewables. The policy scenarios were assessed in terms of effectiveness, total costs, operating and maintenance costs, and the source of the funds (utilities, consumers or
foreign funders).
Also, within the framework of UN-Energy/Africa, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the
IAEA recently conducted a regional workshop in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia on Integrated Resource Planning
(IRP) for Energy/Electricity in Africa. The objective was to raise awareness about the benefits of IRP and
build the participants’ capacity to use IRP to mainstream sustainable development considerations in planning investments in the electricity supply industry at the regional and national levels. The workshop was
attended by energy planners from the West Africa Power Pool; the Southern Africa Power Pool, the
‘Communauté des Etats Sahélo-Sahariens’, the East African Community, Energie des Grands Lacs, the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the Eastern Africa Power Pool. This event represents
a first step in future collaboration between the IAEA and ECA in the field of energy planning and strategies.
5. Prospects for nuclear energy in Africa
Of the 435 nuclear power reactors operating around the world today, just two are in Africa – Koeberg1
and Koeberg-2 in South Africa. Of the 30 nuclear power plants currently under construction none is in
Africa although South Africa announced in February 2007 plans to build an additional conventional
nuclear power plant in the near term, with the decision on the preferred supplier to be made very soon.
Nor is significant nuclear power expansion expected in Africa in the near future. The IAEA publishes two
updated medium-term projections each year — a low projection, which assumes that no new nuclear
power plants are built beyond what is under construction or firmly planned today, and a high projection,
which incorporates additional reasonable planned and proposed nuclear power projects beyond those
already firmly in the pipeline. Figure 2 shows historical worldwide nuclear power capacity in dark green
on the left, plus the latest projections for 2010, 2020 and 2030. The projections are subdivided by region.
The high projection is on the right of each pair and the low projection is on the left. Africa, in black, is
essentially invisible in the low projection (2.1 GW(e) in 2030) and still quite modest even in the high projection (10.3 GW(e) in 2030) (IAEA 2006b).
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
Figure 2. Installed nuclear power generating capacity worldwide, actual through 2006 and low
(left) and high (right) IAEA projections for 2010, 2020 and 2030. (SEA: South-East Asia; LA: Latin
America; ME&SA: Middle East and South Asia; NA: North America; EE: Eastern Europe; WE:
Western Europe.)
In the longer-term, however, nuclear power may provide a significant share of Africa’s electricity. South
Africa has immediate plans for expansion. In 2006 Egypt and Nigeria announced steps they are taking
toward their first nuclear power plants. In 2007, Namibia announced interest in looking into the option
of nuclear power for the longer-term. Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia are at different stages of exploring or developing seawater desalination using nuclear energy. And some of the capacity-building projects
described in Section 0 made lead in the long-term to the introduction of nuclear power in additional
African countries.
An important challenge for many African countries in the near to medium-term would be that of bridging the gap between the economies of scale that favour large nuclear plants and their present smaller
electrical grids and capital capabilities. Possibilities are, first, new small and medium-size reactor designs
and, second, integration of electricity grids among neighbouring countries.
Indeed, of the handful of promising new small- and medium-size reactor designs now reaching the prototype stage, an important one is African — South Africa’s 165 MW(e) Pebble Bed Modular Reactor
(PBMR). The PBMR is expected to be commissioned around 2010. The South African Government has
allocated initial funding for the project and orders for some lead components have already been made. In
the Russian Federation, a barge mounted floating 35 MW(e)/200 MW(th) KLT-40S cogeneration plant
(to produce both electricity and district heat) has been licensed for construction in Severodvinsk in 2007.
A number of small- and medium-size reactor designs are in the category of ‘reactors without on-site refuelling’. These are reactors designed for infrequent replacement (every 5 to 25 years) of well-contained
fuel cassettes in a manner that impedes the clandestine diversion of nuclear fuel material. This category
includes factory fabricated and fuelled reactors, and the general expectation is that the supplier country
would retain all back-end responsibilities for spent fuel and waste. The potential benefits include: possibly lower construction costs in a dedicated facility in the supplier country; lower investment costs and
risks for the purchaser, especially if the reactor is leased rather than bought; reduced obligations for spent
fuel and waste management; and possibly a higher level of assurance of non-proliferation to the international community.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
Section 0 mentioned briefly regional analysis to identify opportunities for cost sharing and cost savings
through regional integration of electricity systems. In the next step in introducing nuclear power, infrastructure development, there are also opportunities for cost sharing and cost savings through regional
cooperation and integration.
The infrastructure to support the implementation of a new nuclear power project has many components,
ranging from the physical facilities and equipment associated with the delivery of the electricity, the transport of the material and supplies to the site, the site itself, and the facilities for handling radioactive waste;
to the legal and regulatory framework within which all of the necessary activities are carried out; and the
human and financial resources necessary to implement the required activities. The IAEA has recently completed a brochure providing integrated initial advice covering the full range, Considerations to Launch a
Nuclear Power Programme (IAEA 2007).
With the exception of issues relating to commercial decisions, the IAEA can assist by providing technical
support for the owner operator for the assessment of potential technology, the potential managerial
approaches that can be used in the implementation of a project and issues related to ensuring the safe and
economic operation of a nuclear power plant. Assistance is also available through the IAEA’s legislative
assistance programme for developing comprehensive national legal frameworks. Specific IAEA support
can also be sought in assisting the development of regulatory bodies to ensure that they are effective and
fully competent to oversee the licensing of facilities, and in providing review services covering all aspects
of a nuclear power programme.
6. Additional IAEA publications on
Basic infrastructure for a nuclear power project
Basic infrastructure for a nuclear power project (IAEA 2006c) provides initial guidance on the infrastructure that
a country needs to develop in order to ensure that it is prepared for the introduction of a nuclear power plant.
This infrastructure is relevant whether the nuclear power plant is planned for the production of electricity or for
seawater desalination. The guidance is not meant to prescribe an all-inclusive list and should be utilized with due
consideration of the existing legal, institutional, industrial and financial conditions of the country. The development stages and extent of the infrastructure institutions and facilities depend on the long-term plans for nuclear
power and the role envisaged for the government and the private sector in its development. This includes sources
of funding for the construction of the plants, the timing and capacity of nuclear generation, technology alignments and agreements, commercial conditions and the types of contracts envisaged for the planned projects.
Potential for sharing nuclear power infrastructure between countries
The burden of infrastructure can be reduced significantly if a country forms a sharing partnership with other
countries. The sharing could be organized regionally or internationally. It can include physical facilities, common
programmes and knowledge, all of which might yield economic benefits. Potential for sharing nuclear power
infrastructure between countries (IAEA 2006d) describes areas where countries may be able to achieve the
required level of infrastructure by sharing resources and facilities. This publication provides guidance for analyzing and identifying the potential benefits of sharing nuclear power infrastructure during various stages of a
nuclear power project’s life cycle.
Fostering Medium- and Long-term Energy Planning and Prospects for Nuclear Energy in Africa
Infrastructure milestones
A guidance document currently in preparation will present milestones that can be used in developing the necessary infrastructure to plan, operate, and maintain safe and reliable nuclear power plants. This document will
supplement basic infrastructure for a nuclear power project and is intended to provide useful assistance for both
planning and assessing progress related to infrastructure development.
Managing a first nuclear power plant
Historically, the time between a country’s initial policy decision to consider nuclear power and the initial operation of its first nuclear power plant is about 10-15 years. The proper management of the wide scope of project
activities during this period represents a major challenge for all governmental, utility, regulatory, supplier and
other support organizations that are involved. The main focus is to ensure that the project is implemented
successfully from a commercial point of view while remaining in accordance with appropriate engineering and
quality requirements, safety standards and security guides. The IAEA will shortly publish a guidance document
on managing a country’s first nuclear power plant, which will provide an introductory overall description of the
main project management activities and give references to related detailed guidance.
Updating Existing Guidance
Past IAEA guidance publications on planning and managing nuclear power projects contain much valuable
information but also, in many cases, need to be updated. In light of rising expectations for nuclear power around
the world, and increasing requests for assistance from member States, the IAEA has embarked on an effort to
restructure, update and further develop relevant guidance and support documents to better address current needs
of member States and reflect the changing social and commercial environment in which the application of
nuclear energy must now considered.
Energy for sustainable development: Policy options for Africa
(IAEA et al., 2005): Energy Indicators for Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies, International Atomic Energy
Agency, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, International Energy Agency, Eurostat, and European
Environment Agency, IAEA, Vienna, Austria (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1222_web.pdf ).
(IAEA, 2006a): Model for Analysis of Energy Demand (MAED-2), IAEA Computer Manual Series No. 18, International Atomic
Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
(IAEA, 2006b): Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates, Reference Data Series No. 1, July 2006 Edition, International
Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/RDS1-26_web.pdf ).
(IAEA 2006c): Basic infrastructure for a nuclear power project, TECDOC-1513, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna,
(http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/TE_1513_web.pdf ).
(IAEA 2006d): Potential for sharing nuclear power infrastructure between countries, TECDOC-1522, International Atomic Energy
Agency, Vienna, Austria,
(http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1522_web.pdf ).
(IAEA, 2007): Considerations to Launch a Nuclear Power Programme, GOV/INF/2007/2, International Atomic Energy Agency,
Vienna, Austria.
(IEA, 2004): World Energy Outlook 2004, International Energy Agency, OECD, Paris.
(UN, 2001): Report of the Ninth Session. Economic and Social Council Official Records, Supplement No. 9, Commission on
Sustainable Development, Rep. E/2001/29, E/CN.17/2001/19, United Nations, New York.
(UN, 2006a): Energy for Sustainable Development, Industrial Development, Air Pollution/Atmosphere and Climate Change: Progress
in Meeting the Goals, Targets and Commitments of Agenda 21, Report of the Secretary-General, Commission on Sustainable
Development, Fourteenth Session, UN Advance Copy Unedited Rep. E/CN.17/2006/3, United Nations, New York.
(UN, 2006b): What are the Millennium Development Goals? United Nations, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
(UN-Energy, 2006): Assessing Policy Options for Increasing the Use of Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development: Modelling
Energy Scenarios for Ghana, UN-Energy, UN Division of Sustainable Development, New York
(http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/ST/NE/Pess/assets/Ghanapercent20Rep_Final_060519_hq.pdf ).
(UNDP, 2005): Human Development Report 2005: International Cooperation at a Crossroads, Aid, Trade and Security in an
Unequal World, United Nations Development Programme, New York.
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