Transitioning towards sustainable rural electrification in developing countries: a case study of

Transitioning towards sustainable rural electrification in developing countries: a case study of
Transitioning towards sustainable
rural electrification in developing
countries: a case study of
Luangwa district in Zambia
Gerald Muchu, Benny Sindowe &
Pavan Kumar Vummadi
School of Engineering
Blekinge Institute of Technology
Karlskrona, Sweden
2005
Thesis for the partial completion of
Master of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability
Abstract:
The purpose of this research is to examine how rural areas in developing
countries can strategically transit towards sustainable electricity generation
and how this transition can help promote strategic progress towards
sustainable rural communities. Luangwa district in Zambia is studied as a
special case but an approach that is generic for rural areas in developing
countries is strived for. Based on a literature review of existing and
potentially sustainable technologies for electricity generation, other case
studies, and a survey of local conditions, this study proposes Small Scale
Hydro and Solar as appropriate for Luangwa district. A strategic
implementation plan is suggested. Some barriers to the transition and
possible ways of overcoming them are pointed out, e.g., through technical
and public policy measures. Potential economic, socio-political and
environmental benefits of this transition are highlighted. The study
concludes that with a well structured vision of a sustainable rural
electrification, it is possible to strategically implement existing technologies
based on renewable energy sources. However, the type of technologies that
are suitable for different areas will differ considerably due to different local
conditions, such as geography and climate.
Keywords: Transition, Sustainable Technologies, Rural Areas, Developing
Countries.
Acknowledgements
First of all, we wish to express our gratitude to Blekinge Institute of
Technology through the Department of Mechanical Engineering for having
accorded us the opportunity to pursue such an amazing and unique Masters’
program.
Special thanks go to our research supervisors Göran Broman and David
Waldron for their highly professional guidance and advice. We would also
like to thank our student research advisory group, Scotty Grierson and Ron
Durgins for everything they contributed towards this research. We further
wish to express our gratitude to our peer review group members; Carmen
Turner, Archie Kasnet, David Nelson, Renee Lazarowich, Mitchell Rhodes,
Birte Berlemann and Paulina Gonzague for their wonderful contributions
during the peer group presentation sessions.
We thank Jessica Webster, Kerly Acosta, Arash Sangari, and Josephine
Brennan for assisting us with relevant information sources during the data
collection process. We are sincerely grateful to Trophias Kufanga, our
contact person in Zambia, for his devoted assistance during the data
collection process.
We also gratefully acknowledge the support from the rest of the program
instructional team; Karl Henrik Robèrt, Sophie Byggeth and Henrik Ny.
We thank our class mates for having been an extra ordinary group.
Our sincere gratitude also goes to our respective families for their abundant
love, support and encouragement throughout the study period. Last and
most importantly, we thank GOD almighty for making it possible for us to
be here.
ii
Executive Summary
Overview
Energy services are generally regarded as the major driving force for social
and economic development. Electric light, electric motors, electronics, and
other applications of electricity provide services that have become essential
to modern society. This contributes not only to the improvement of
education, health, living conditions, in particular for women, but also to the
development of economic activities and value creation. Access to electricity
transforms life from every point of view, including gender disparity,
childcare, industrial competitiveness, job generation, domestic comfort and
income distribution. Electricity is not only beneficial for socio-economic
development but can also support preservation of environmental quality
through reduction of biomass consumption and the improvement of ambient
air quality.
However, the majority of people without access to electricity are found
mainly in rural areas developing countries. Consequently, they tend to rely
on traditional biomass and other sources of energy which are associated
with a host of environmental and social problems. We therefore seek to
show in this report how rural areas in developing countries could
strategically move towards sustainable electricity generation and use. We
chose Luangwa district in Zambia as a special case study but strived to
adopt an approach that is generic enough to be applied to other areas.
We examined some existing sustainable technologies of electricity that are
appropriate for rural areas and further identified which of these were
appropriate for Luangwa District.
Some barriers towards to the transition to sustainable technologies and
possible ways of overcoming them were equally examined. We further
identified potential benefits of the transition that could enhance sustainable
rural development.
It is not practical that the transition towards sustainable rural electrification
can be done over night. Various logistical issues would have to be
addressed before the transition is feasible. We suggested a strategic
iii
implementation plan and proposed measures that the government of Zambia
through the Ministry of Energy and Water Development could address as it
attempts move towards success.
Methodology
In order to have first hand information, we had initially proposed to carry
out an on-site (field) research but due to logistical problems we later
decided to base the research models on review of relevant literature,
surveys and case studies. We further employed questionnaires, online and
telephone interviews as methodological tools.
In determining the current available renewable electricity energy
technologies, we reviewed literature on previous studies of renewable
energies and also examined stories of success.
We identified appropriate electricity technologies in Luangwa district by
analysing the geography of the area, our vision for sustainable rural
electrification, stories of success and through responses from the survey.
The group identified some barriers towards the transition by using survey
responses as well as consulting relevant literature review.
We further pursued data from related literature in identifying some of the
short and medium term benefits of the transition that could help promote
strategic progress towards sustainable community development in the study
area.
Key findings
We identified the following renewable electricity technologies:
Solar: this technology involves capturing solar energy and converting it
into electricity. Since generating electricity directly from sunlight does not
deplete any of the earth's natural resources, solar energy is a renewable
source of electricity generation. Solar energy is our earth's primary source
of renewable energy. Photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal technologies are
two different approaches to generate electricity from the sun.
iv
Because Luangwa district is located in an area with adequate sunlight, with
temperatures ranging between 30 degrees C to 35 degrees C, we deduced
that Solar PV could be an appropriate source of electricity.
Small Scale Hydro: because this technology is cheaper to install and
maintain than other electricity technologies, Hydro power is the largest and
most mature application of renewable energy. The best geographical areas
for exploiting small-scale hydro power are those where there are steep
rivers flowing all year round, for example, the hilly areas of countries with
high year-round rainfall. Low-head turbines have been developed for smallscale exploitation of rivers where there is a small head but sufficient flow to
provide adequate power.
Given the facts that Luangwa lies at the confluence of two major rivers, that
the relief of Luangwa district is basically hilly and in some parts forms
steep escarpments and that the technology is already familiar to the current
service provider (less time and money would be spent on capacity
building). We deduced that Small Scale hydro could also be appropriate for
the district
Wind: it is also a renewable resource because it is inexhaustible. It is a
result of the sun shining unevenly on the earth. Wind power plants use large
spinning blades to capture the kinetic energy in moving wind, which then is
transferred to rotors that produce electricity. Regions where average wind
speeds exceed 12 miles per hour are currently the best wind power plant
sites.
Due to the facts that Luangwa district is in a mountainous area where the
wind cannot blow freely and that wind energy regime in the district is only
about 2.5 meters per second, the group established that wind technology
was inappropriate for Luangwa district.
Biomass: biomass refers to wood, crops, harvest residues, urban refuse, or
methane gas produced by landfills that are burned to spin turbines and
produce electricity. It is worth mentioning that waste is not considered a
viable option for large-scale electricity production and is not a truly
renewable resource.
v
Because Luangwa district experiences very poor rainfall and the fact that
the vegetation is limited to mainly drought resistance plants, we deduced
that Biomass was inappropriate for the district.
The following are some potential transition barriers that we established:
1. Lack of Money of Financing: most developing countries have
serious economic problems, given the fact that renewable
technologies are expensive to install and maintain with long
payback, policy makers often opt to invest in projects with short
payback. Financing could be overcome by setting up revolving
funds or by provision of low interest long term loans to potential
service providers.
2. Lack of expertise knowledge and insufficient end user information:
potential service providers and end users may not be equipped with
adequate information of the technologies. This could be overcoming
by capacity building.
3. Political hindrances: policy makers (government) could hinder the
transition due to ignorance of the technologies or pressure from
conventional energy providers. Capacity building could also address
this barrier.
4. Quality Problems: the quality of most renewable electricity
technology products has greatly affected the transition in most
developing countries. The purchasing of ISO certified products and
use of qualified personnel to install and maintain the technologies
could help overcome this barrier.
5. Pricing and Tax obstacles: pricing and tax such as import duty are
also barriers towards the transition. Import duty could be reduced or
waived for a specified period of time in order to promote the
industry.
6. Apathy by the general public: because of other life threatening
issues, most people in developing countries are complacent towards
environmental related issues. This could also be overcome by
capacity building.
We established the following potential opportunities and benefits pursuant
to the transition:
1. Economic benefits: sustainable electrification in the district could
yield economic growth in income generation activities such as
vi
agriculture, fishing and tourism. Such activities could also create job
opportunities for the local people that could help them meet their
various basic needs.
2. Socio-political benefits: sustainable electrification in Luangwa
district could also improve the public health sector in that fewer
people would be exposed to indoor smoke pollution resulting from
burning of solid fuels in poorly ventilated spaces which could lead to
various respiratory complications and other diseases.
3. Local Environmental impacts: finally sustainable electrification in
the district could reduce environmental hazards such as air pollution,
soil erosion and deforestation while promoting reforestation.
Below is a table highlighting strategic short and mid-long term
implementation measures that we proposed the Government could address:
Short Term Measures
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Mid-Long Term Measures
Replacement of old engines
Substitution of conventional diesel
with bio-diesel
Connect the hospital to the mini
grid
Reinforce regulation on
deforestation and promote re
forestation
Reinforce standardization
adherence
Refurbish the current power house
Put proper waste facilities at the
power plant in Luangwa
•
•
•
•
•
Put up tariff adjustment
measures
Carry out more feasibility
studies and avail findings
to potential service
providers the public
Seek funding incentives.
Set up capacity building
projects
Create investment
incentives
Conclusion
We established that with a well structured vision it is possible to
strategically implement already existing renewable technologies in rural
areas that are far from the main grid. However, the type of renewable
technology to be implemented, amongst other aspects, primarily depends on
the geographical aspects of the region. We also established that there are
issues related to human behaviour, flaws to the market and technical in
nature that could stall the transition. We further established that sustainable
rural electrification could accelerate strategic progress towards sustainable
rural communities in developing countries.
vii
Table of Contents
1 Introduction ............................................................................................ 1
1.1 Background......................................................................................... 1
1.2 Statement of Problem ......................................................................... 3
1.3 Objective of the Study ........................................................................ 5
1.4 Vision of Sustainable Rural Electrification........................................ 5
2 Methodology............................................................................................ 7
2.1 Nature of the Research ....................................................................... 7
2.2 Data Collection................................................................................... 7
2.2.1 Primary Data ..……………………………………………......7
2.2.2 Secondary Data ......................................................................... 8
2.3 Sub-Problem Treatment...................................................................... 8
3 Luangwa Rural District ......................................................................... 9
3.1 Geographical aspects .......................................................................... 9
3.2 Uses and importance of electricity in Luangwa District .................. 10
3.2.1 Domestic use of Electricity..................................................... 10
3.2.2 Commercial and Public Service sector use of electricity........ 12
3.2.3 Industrial use of electricity...................................................... 14
3.3 ZESCO in Luangwa District ............................................................ 14
4 Sustainable Rural Electricity Technologies Currently Available .... 19
4.1 Evolution of Renewable Energy....................................................... 19
4.2 Renewable Energies for Electricity Generation ............................... 19
4.2.1 Solar…………. ....................................................................... 20
4.2.2 Small Scale Hydro-Power....................................................... 23
4.2.3 Wind…………........................................................................ 25
4.2.4 Biomass………....................................................................... 27
5 Sustainable Electricity Sources Appropriate to Luangwa District.. 30
5.1 Selection Criteria .............................................................................. 30
5.1.1 Geographical Aspects ............................................................. 30
5.1.2 Vision ………........................................................................ 30
5.1.3 Survey Responses ................................................................... 31
5.1.4 Case Studies ……... ................................................................ 31
5.2 Technologies Perceived Inappropriate ............................................ 31
5.2.1 Biomass Electricity Technology ............................................. 31
5.2.2 Wind Electricity Technology.................................................. 32
5.3 Technologies Perceived Appropriate ............................................... 33
viii
5.3.1 Solar Electricity Technology .................................................. 33
5.3.2 Small Scale Hydro Electricity Technology............................. 34
6 Barriers towards Sustainable Rural Electrification Transition....... 35
6.1 Financial Constraints ........................................................................ 35
6.2 Lack of expertise knowledge and insufficient end user information37
6.3 Political Hindrances.......................................................................... 39
6.4 Quality Problems .............................................................................. 40
6.5 Pricing and Tax Obstacles ................................................................ 41
6.6 Apathy by the general public............................................................ 42
7 Potential Opportunities and Benefits of Sustainable Electricity
Supply in Luangwa............................................................................... 44
7.1 Economic Benefits............................................................................ 44
7.2 Socio-political Benefits .................................................................... 46
7.3 Local Environmental Impacts........................................................... 49
8 Implementation..................................................................................... 51
8.1 Short term actions............................................................................. 52
8.2 Mid-Long term actions ..................................................................... 54
9 Conclusion ............................................................................................. 56
9.1 Findings ............................................................................................ 56
9.2 Limitations........................................................................................ 57
9.3 Recommendations ............................................................................ 57
10 References ............................................................................................. 58
Appendix A: Electrification Survey ........................................................ 60
Appendix B: Map of Zambia showing Luangwa District...................... 64
ix
1 Introduction
1.1 Background
Energy services are generally regarded as the major driving force for social
and economic development. Electric light, electric motors, electronics, and
other applications of electricity provide services that have become essential
to modern society. This contributes not only to the improvement of
education, health, living conditions, in particular for women, but also to the
development of economic activities and value creation. Access to electricity
transforms life from every point of view, including gender disparity,
childcare, industrial competitiveness, job generation, domestic comfort and
income distribution. Electricity is not only beneficial for socio-economic
development but can also support preservation of environmental quality
through, e.g., reduction of biomass consumption and the improvement of
ambient air quality.
Despite substantial effort of expanding electricity development for over a
century, policy has failed to deliver electricity services to some two billion
people-one third of humanity [1]. The majority of these people live mainly
in rural areas in developing countries; 80% of which are centered in South
Asia (40% electrification rate) and Sub-Saharan Africa (20% electrification
rate). Most of the 500 million people without access living in Sub-Saharan
Africa live in rural areas where the proportion of population deprived of
access to electricity is 90%. In south Asia and India, 70% of the 800 million
people are without electricity [2].
This lack of access to electricity obliges people to depend on traditional
fuels such as wood, and animal and crop waste which are linked to severe
environmental, social and health problems for people living today, and, in
many cases, pose greater threats to future generations. While it is
imperative to find ways of expanding energy services, especially to these
two billion people who currently rely on traditional forms of energy as well
as for generations to come, this expansion should be done in ways that are
environmentally sound, as well as safe, affordable, reliable , and equitable.
This study examined how rural areas in developing countries could
strategically transform towards sustainable electricity generation and how
this transition could help promote strategic progress towards sustainable
1
rural communities. For this research, Luangwa district in Zambia was
studied as a special case but an approach that is generic enough to be
applied to other rural areas in developing countries was strived for.
The study used a science based, rigorous and whole systems framework for
planning towards sustainability 1 . For a more elaborate description and
discussion, see, e.g., [3] and [4]. The negative impacts related to
unsustainability in today’s society can-on a basic principle level- be divided
into three separate mechanisms by which human beings destroy the
biosphere and its ability to sustain society:
1. A systematic increase in concentration of matter that is net-introduced
into the biosphere from outside sources
2. A systematic increase in concentration of matter that is produced within
the biosphere; and
3. A systematic degradation by physical means.
By adding a `not´ to the above, three basic principles for ecological
sustainability result. Sustainability of society, however also depends on the
maintenance and robust functioning of social systems. This is required not
only to sustain society itself, but also facilitates compliance with the three
ecological constraints. This requires a fourth basic constraint that takes
social sustainability into account. In summary:
In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically
increasing…..
I….concentrations of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust,
II…concentrations of substances produced by society,
III… degradation by physical means, and, in that society……
IV…people are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine
their capacity to meet their needs.
In the TNS Framework, these principles 2 are used as a definition of
`success´ and are combined with a planning approach called ‘Back-casting’.
This methodology basically involves planning from a starting point of
1
Often referred to as The Natural Step Framework after the NGO promoting it
These are the ‘basic principles for a sustainable society in the biosphere’ or ‘basic
sustainability principles. They are widely known in the business community as The
Natural Step ‘system conditions’
2
2
success, i.e., imagining that the conditions for success are complied with,
and then proceeding by asking: ‘‘what can we do now to optimize our
chances of getting there?’’
1.2 Statement of Problem
Much of the population of people deprived of access to electricity in the
world are concentrated in rural areas in developing countries. The number
of people without access to electricity is growing every year due to the
demographic growth in these remote and poor regions of the world.
Absence of electricity in these areas is generally regarded as being
responsible for the slow economic growth of these areas as people forgo the
basic amenities of electric lighting, communication, motors and
refrigerators.
To meet their basic needs, these people without access to modern energy
services tend to rely on sources of traditional energy such as fuel wood,
charcoal, candles, and agriculture residue. Most of these traditional energy
sources are economically inefficient, financially expensive and
environmentally harmful. Populations spend a high proportion of their
household income to purchase candles and batteries and considerable
amount of time for searching and collecting fire wood and agricultural
residue. The use of traditional sources of energy also leads to damaging
health effects either due to the physical injuries resulting from the
collection of fire wood and agricultural residues, or due to indoor smoke
pollution from the exposure of poor people to fumes from the indoor stoves
and to particulate and carbon monoxide emissions. Respiratory diseases are
particularly high in areas where the predominant fuel is biomass, resulting
in asthma, tuberculosis, cancer blindness, and pregnancy side effects. The
World Health Organization estimates that 2.5 million women and children
under five die every year in these areas from breathing fumes and carbon
monoxide [2].
There is therefore a strong link between the phenomenon of poverty and the
lack of access to electricity in these areas. Without improved access to
adequate energy services in these areas, the prospects of households
breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty and ill health are dim. While
rapid progress has been observed in Latin America, East Asia and China in
recent years, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are lagging behind.
Sustainable development in these areas will require electricity services that
3
are not only reliable, available, affordable and meet basic sustainability
principles outlined above.
Though blessed with enormous availability of hydro-energy power, the
Electricity grid penetration in Zambia is very low. About 23% of the total
population mostly in urban areas has access to electricity with a National
grid that caters only for 2% of rural households [5] Luangwa district in
Lusaka province is one of the many rural areas that are not connected to the
national grid. In a bid to provide electricity to all rural households in
Zambia, the government through the state owned Zambian Electricity
Supply Company (ZESCO) is operating ten diesel power stations around
the country mainly in rural areas. ZESCO currently runs three outdated
diesel generators in Luangwa which run on a twenty four (24) hour basis
and emits substantial amounts of carbon dioxide and toxic substances to the
atmosphere. The running cost of these engines in terms of fuel,
transportation and general maintenance is higher than revenue collected as
customer base is very small. This state of affairs is not economically viable
for the current service provider.
The supply of electricity in Luangwa is often erratic due to malfunctioning
of the old engines and this has negative consequences on economic and
social activities. For instance small scale local businesses are often
grounded due to frequent blackouts. Social facilities such as the Luangwa
high school also suffer a lot due to the erratic nature of electricity supply.
Due to the low income level of most of the inhabitants of Luangwa, many
cannot afford electricity and resort to the use of wood and charcoal for
cooking and other purposes which encourage deforestation and soil erosion.
Fossil fuel (kerosene) is also commonly used for cooking, lighting and
other purposes. The working conditions are not also conducive for the plant
operators since they are exposed to excessive heat, noise and air pollution
emanating from the engines. We shall discuss in detail the current reality of
Luangwa district in Chapter 3.
The current issues of reality highlighted above clearly indicate that the
source of electricity supply is unsustainable and also contributes to
unsustainable development when viewed through the lens of the basic
principles for sustainability. This situation is similar to that of many rural
areas in developing countries. In this light, the team developed the
following research questions:
4
•
•
•
•
What are the various sustainable technologies for electricity
generation and supply currently available and appropriate for rural
areas?
Which of these technologies are appropriate to Luangwa District?
What are the barriers for the transition to these potential
technologies?
What are the short and medium term benefits that could help to
accelerate strategic progress towards sustainable development?
1.3 Objective of the Study
Our primary objective was to examine how rural areas in developing
countries can strategically progress towards sustainable access and use of
electricity. We analysed already existing technologies based on renewable
energy and show how they can be strategically implemented using a generic
framework in a selected rural area of a developing country.
Another objective of the study was to identify and examine some benefits
of this transition that can help promote strategic progress towards
sustainable rural communities.
1.4 Vision of Sustainable Rural Electrification
Rural electrification should promote sustainable socio-economic and
environmental development of rural communities. It should be reliable,
affordable, safe, environmentally sound and economically viable 3 .
The electrification should therefore be capable of advancing rural socioeconomic growth that is economically efficient, need oriented and
equitable, self-reliant and empowering while facilitating compliance with
principles for ecological sustainability. Explicitly, rural electrification
should:
…..eliminate its contribution to systematic increase of substances extracted
from the Earth’s crust.
…..eliminate its contribution to increase in concentration of substances
produced by society.
3
Economically viable in this sense means it should be financially self sustaining.
5
…..eliminate its contribution to systematic physical degradation of nature.
…eliminate its contributions to conditions that undermine people’s ability
to meet their needs.
6
2 Methodology
2.1 Nature of the Research
In order to have a personal experience on what was really happening in
Luangwa district, we had initially proposed to carry out an on-site (field)
research but due to financial constraints and other logistical problems, the
group decided to base the research models on review of relevant literature,
surveys and case studies. We further employed questionnaires, online and
telephone interviews as methodological tools. All of this guided by the
strategic approach to sustainable development described in the introduction
(TNS framework).
2.2 Data Collection
The group employed both primary and secondary sources in the data
collection process.
2.2.1
Primary Data
The group designed two different structured questionnaires. One was meant
for the Mechanical Engineer of the current electricity service provider in
Luangwa district (ZESCO) who carries out maintenance work at the power
plant. The other was meant for the general public. The group also carried
out telephone interviews with the Engineer.
We randomly selected 30 participants from the general public. The
participants were of a mixed gender, age group, academic and occupational
backgrounds. The questionnaires were sent to the participants online.
The questionnaire responses from the general public were analysed by
using simple arithmetical tables and percentages.
Samples of both questionnaires and their response analysis are attached in
the appendix section of this report.
7
2.2.2
Secondary Data
The fact that we were unable to carry out an on-site research and that we
are not the expert in this field, the reliance on relevant literature review and
case studies was inevitable. We engaged in extensive literature review
from various relevant sources such as academic books, periodical articles
and internet material.
2.3 Sub-Problem Treatment
After collecting and analyzing the data pertaining to the study, the team
proceeded to address the key research questions using different criteria.
In Chapter 4, the currently available renewable electricity energy sources
were examined using literature on previous studies of renewable energies as
well as investigating some cases where the technologies have been
successfully implemented.
Chapter 5 describes which of these renewable electricity energy sources
would be appropriate for Luangwa district. Here, the geography of the area,
our vision for a sustainable rural electrification, some successful cases as
well as responses from the survey was used as the criteria for selection.
In chapter 6, some of the barriers towards this transition were examined
using responses from our questionnaires as well as relevant information
from related literature.
In chapter 7, data from related literature was used to identify some of the
short and medium term benefits of the transition that can help promote
strategic progress towards sustainable community development in the study
area.
8
3 Luangwa Rural District
3.1 Geographical aspects
The Republic of Zambia is a land-locked country covering an area of
752,612 square kilometers (about 2.5 percent of Africa). The country which
lies in the southern central part of the African continent has a population of
about 9.9 million [6]. Zambia is divided into nine Provinces, namely
Southern, Northern, Western, Eastern, North-western, Copperbelt, Luapula,
Central and Lusaka. Each province is further divided into districts which
form local governments that are basically managed by elected local Ward
Counsellors.
Luangwa Rural District is one of the four districts of Lusaka Province. It
lies in South-eastern part of Lusaka Province. It further lies at the
confluence of Zambia’s two great rivers (Zambezi and Luangwa rivers); it
also stands as a natural boundary separating three countries Mozambique,
Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The district experiences a Tropical Savannah Type of climate. The
temperature ranges from 30oC to 35oCelsius, while the rainfall in the area
is mainly below 750 mm per annum. In other words Luangwa district is
located in the hottest and driest part of the country.
In terms of the relief, the district is basically hilly and in some parts forms
steep escarpments. However, Luangwa Township which is also the
administrative centre of the district is in the land below 900 metres above
sea level.
Because of the low rainfall, the vegetation in the district is mainly drought
resistant flora (Xerophytic) locally known as Mopane woodland.
In terms of drainage the great Zambezi River flows on the southern part of
Luangwa district bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe, while the Luangwa
River flows in the eastern part, bordering Zambia and Mozambique. It is
interesting to know that these two rivers actually meet just in front of
Luangwa district. This means that the district has access to plenty of water
that could be used for various functions.
9
According to the Census exercise carried out by the Central Statistics of
Zambia Office in 2000, the population of Luangwa Rural District is
approximately 21,990 [6].
Because of its high humid valley temperatures, the area has great potential
for an array of traditional and non-traditional crops. The local people have
seized this opportunity by engaging into peasant farming by growing
drought resistant crops like Cassava, Millet, and Sorghum to earn their
living and for domestic consumption. Apart from that, the two rivers also
bring their own value to the district. The local people also rely on fishing as
a means of earning their living.
3.2 Uses and importance of electricity in Luangwa District
We briefly looked at the various uses of electricity in Luangwa district and
try to relate them to some examples of “need satisfiers” in accordance to the
Chilean economist, Max Neef´s categories of basic human needs. By the
human needs we refer to innate requirements that ought to be satisfied in
order for human beings to lead healthy lives i.e. physically, mentally and
socially [7]. Listed below are Max Neef´s nine basic human needs
categories that are closely related to the uses of electricity in Luangwa
District:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Subsistence
Idleness
Understanding
Protection
Creativity
6.
7.
8.
9.
Identity
Participation
Affection
Freedom
Going by the responses from the questionnaires that were sent to the
randomly selected representative sample and our own literature review
process, electricity in Luangwa District is consumed by three sectors
namely Domestic, Industrial, Commercial and Public Sector sectors.
3.2.1
Domestic use of Electricity
The domestic use of electricity is basically the consumption of electricity
strictly for household related activities.
10
Cooking is one use of Electricity by the domestic sector in Luangwa
District. Electric cookers are used by people in the district that have access
and can afford electricity. Needless to mention that cooking is a necessity
when it comes to preparation of food. Food is one of the subsistence need
satisfiers essential for human welfare.
Except for ZESA (Zimbabwean Power Company) in the domestic sector,
the Zambia Electricity Supply Company (refer to 3.3) has the lowest
electricity tariffs in all market segments i.e. domestic, commercial and
industrial sector in the southern and eastern African region. However,
majority of the people in the district earn very little income and cannot
afford to pay for electricity. Consequently, some have opted for the use of
wood and charcoal for their cooking. The cutting down of trees for charcoal
burning is some-what “big business” in the district as most households
depend on charcoal and wood for cooking purposes. The incessant use of
fire wood and charcoal encourages deforestation and soil erosion. This
contributes to violation of the third Sustainability Principle introduced
above. As we mentioned in the foregoing, the district basically has drought
resistant vegetation thus the continuous cutting down of trees for cooking
purposes could eventually destroy the ecosystem.
Another use of electricity in Luangwa district by the domestic sector is
lighting. Lighting is an important electricity service for all households that
have access to electricity in the district in that it to a large degree enables
people to feel safe in their homes. The fixed indoor and external lighting
system helps to ensure that a household is secure from external atrocities
such as burglary etc. To this effect electricity is linked to need satisfiers of
protection and identity (with family).
Some households in the district have school aged children who need to
study and do homework after school hours. Electricity provides lighting for
them to carry out these activities in the night. Electricity in this sense is
linked to satisfiers of the need of understanding.
Again because of the tariffs which most people in the district cannot afford,
many have resorted to fossil fuels such kerosene for lighting purpose. The
extensive use of fossil fuels and poor combustion control contribute to
violation of Sustainability Principle “1”and “2”.
11
The provision of affordable and reliable electricity to the households of the
Luangwa district could allow people to feel safer in their homes. At the
same time it could reduce the somewhat high dependency on fossil fuels for
lighting purposes.
Electricity is also used to power various household appliances that are
essential as residents in the district seek to satisfy their various needs. As
stated in the foregoing, Luangwa district is one of the hottest places in
Zambia; therefore electricity for powering cooling appliances such as fans,
refrigerators and air conditioners is extremely important for the wellbeing
of the people of Luangwa district. Electricity for this purpose is linked to
the need satisfier’s protection and subsistence (e.g. keeping food
refrigerated).
3.2.2
Commercial and Public Service sector use of electricity
The Commercial use of electricity refers to electricity that is consumed by
the business community and other related non-governmental organizations.
The use of electricity by the public service sector basically refers to
electricity energy that is consumed by the Public Service organizations and
other social institutions.
The commercial sector uses electricity to power various office equipments
such as computers, copiers, etc. The use of electricity for such functions is
again closely related to the need satisfiers of understanding and creation.
Some members of the business community in Luangwa district have
invested in the entertainment industry such as operating night clubs.
Electricity is therefore used to power entertainment equipment such as
music systems and colored lighting in night clubs. The proprietors depend
on these night clubs as a major source of income for their living. To this
effect the use of electricity for such business ventures relates to satisfying
subsistence need on the part of the proprietor. Entertainment provided by
these night clubs are also vital at an individual level as it gives an
opportunity to socialize while giving one, piece of mind. Therefore the need
for participation and identity for example are satisfied. Recreation is also
vital for stress and tension release for individual wellbeing, therefore
recreation in this context also seeks to satisfy idleness and protection needs.
12
Like in the domestic sector, electricity is also used for lighting purposes.
People working in commercial offices need good lighting facilities in order
for them to execute their duties diligently. The use of electricity in this
manner relates to the need satisfiers for understanding, creativity and
participation.
The business community and the public service sector in the district seek to
protect their premises by ensuring that the surroundings of the premises are
well equipped with good lighting systems. The use of electricity for this
purpose is related to the need satisfiers for protection.
The use of electricity in the district by the public sector mainly refers to
activities carried out by the health and learning institutions. Luangwa Rural
District has only one referral health institution, Katondwe Mission Hospital,
which is just 30 km from the highway linking Lusaka and Eastern
Provinces known as the Great East Road. The Hospital has saved hundreds
of lives, most fatal cases of road traffic accidents on the Great East road
have had to end up at this medical institution in the recent past. However,
the institution is not connected to the national electricity grid and thus relies
on a diesel generator for limited hours a day after which the hospital
sustains its operations on solar panels for its power supply. The solar power
has had its own problems on the institution. On a cloudy or rainy day, there
is not enough energy stored in the panels, forcing nurses to resort to other
alternatives like lighting candles and kerosene lamps to attend to patients.
Certain equipment like X-ray and sterilization machines which consume a
lot of power, cannot run on the small diesel-generated power. Refrigerators
and the morgue which need a constant power supply twenty-four hours a
day are not able to run on the current erratic power supply. The provision of
electricity to power the aforementioned equipments in the hospital is an
extremely important element of need satisfiers for protection.
Luangwa High School is the only public boarding high school that the
entire district and other districts depend on. As a learning institution various
equipment and facilities that are cardinal for a smooth learning process,
depend on reliable provision of electricity. However the school in some
cases experiences “black outs” following various shortcomings on the part
of the current service provider. Some equipment in the learning laboratories
totally depends on electricity. Since it is a boarding school, food cooling
facilities are very important, the efficiency of these facilities depend on
reliable supply of electricity. As a boarding institution of knowledge giving,
13
the administrative team often makes it mandatory that the knowledge
seekers spend good hours in the evening studying. The studying process is
only effective with reliable supply of electricity. The provision of electricity
for academic activities in the district relates to the need satisfiers for
understanding, participation and identity.
The current erratic supply of electricity to the above mentioned social
institutions contributes to undermining the ability of the residents of
Luangwa district meeting their needs (Sustainability Principle “4”).
3.2.3
Industrial use of electricity
The industrial sector refers to businesses that are engaged in production and
manufacturing. Some businessmen that have invested in such ventures in
Luangwa district operate only on a small scale level.
Maize mill or corn mill as it is called in other cultures is the staple food for
the majority of the Zambians. Most rural households prefer to grow their
own maize grain during the rainy season to buying fine Millie mill from the
supermarket. Households that take this option usually take the grain to
privately owned hammer milling machines in order for it to be processed
into a fine mill for consumption. These hammer mills are usually powered
by diesel engines and electric motors. The use of electric motors has many
advantages for this purpose from a sustainability perspective.
The use of electricity for the maize milling in the district is important as it
relates to need satisfiers of subsistence. Constant supply of clean water to
the households, public institutions and commercial places is a necessity for
the wellbeing of the residents of Luangwa district. Electricity is an essential
service needed for purifying and pumping water to the people of the
district. Therefore, the use of electricity for this purpose relates to the need
satisfiers of protection and subsistence.
3.3 ZESCO in Luangwa District
The current electricity service provider at Luangwa district is the Zambia
Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO).
ZESCO is a public electricity utility company that was established in 1970
with the Government of the Republic of Zambia being the sole shareholder.
14
It is currently responsible for the generation and distribution of electricity
for commercial, industrial and domestic uses throughout the country. It also
supplies electricity to some neighbouring states, for instance Botswana.
The company produces most of its electric power from hydro-power
stations. These stations constitute approximately 99.9% of its total
production. The remaining 0.1% however comes from diesel power stations
in some more remote parts of the country that are not on the national grid.
The company operates a total of ten (10) Diesel Power Stations throughout
the country. The stations for the ten diesel powered isolated mini grids are
at Lukulu, Kaoma, Luangwa, Chama, Kasempa, Zambezi, Mufumbwe,
Mwinilunga, Kabompo and Kaputa [8]. For this research project we will
basically restrict the operations of ZESCO to Luangwa district.
ZESCO had enjoyed monopoly of the market from the time the company
was established. However, it is of great concern that only about 2% out of
about 6.2 million people currently living in the rural areas has access to
electricity. The fact that such a minimal percentage of people in rural areas
having access to electricity service from a state owned power utility that
has been in operation for 35 years, suggests abuse of political power 4 .
Electricity in rural areas is as essential as in urban areas for reasons
discussed in the foregoing; marginalizing the rural dwellers in the provision
of electricity by policy makers contributes to undermining human ability to
meet their needs.
However, government policies towards the electricity energy sector have
changed following government’s decision, through an act of parliament, to
liberalize the market meaning that ZESCO would not be the only service
provider and that it would face competition. This move by the government
aims at improving service and ensuring that the “electricity for all” exercise
is successful. The current administration is particularly concerned at the
level at which people in the rural areas lack access to electricity service. In
order to accelerate the rural electrification exercise, government called for
tenders to electrify rural areas that are off the national grid. Power
companies including ZESCO are expected to bid for these contracts. The
rural areas that are currently being serviced by diesel power stations
mentioned in the foregoing are expected to benefit from this exercise.
4
Abuse of political power is here taken in its widest sense, derived from policy such as
organizational policy.
15
ZESCO is also in the process of replacing the diesel generator sets with
other sources of electricity. The reasons for this are that the expenditure on
fuel and maintenance costs is much higher than the revenue collections and
they are inefficient. In technical terms it costs 25USC/kwh to generate a
unit of electricity while revenue is only 2.5USC/kwh in these areas that are
serviced by diesel generator sets.
The annual cost of generating power in these areas is about US$ 4.5 million
while the revenue is only about US$ 285,000.00. Zambia has no oil
reserves hence it depends on importing crude oil mainly from the Gulf
region. As a result the retail price of petroleum products greatly depends on
the price of crude oil from the source which has not been stable for
sometime now. For instance the price of diesel in Zambia from January
2004 to December 2004 increased up to about 30%. Despite this increase in
fuel price, ZESCO has only seen a minimal increase to the customer base to
increase revenue collection in areas serviced by diesel generator sets. The
power station at Luangwa district for the month of December 2004 spent
about US$30,000.00 on diesel and other lubricants while its revenue
collection was only about US$2,500.00. At times due to logistics involved
in the import procedure of crude oil, the country experiences shortages of
fuel especially diesel, in order to conserve the little fuel that they have
ZESCO normally resorts to load shedding and if the replenishment of the
commodity is not made on time then it means the whole area will have a
blackout.
This clearly shows that the provision of electricity in these areas is basically
a service. Private investors would not offer such a non-financially
sustaining service. ZESCO as a public power utility company offers this
service since government, as the sole owner of the company has an
obligation, through its “electricity for all exercise”, to see to it that the
services are equally distributed throughout the country. The current
situation in Luangwa district and the other stations operating diesel
generators is not sustainable as the company is running at a loss in these
areas making it cumbersome to maintain a more efficient supply of
electricity.
The distance between Luangwa district and the nearest point to the national
grid is close to about 300km. Because of this distance and the dormant
economic activities in the district, the policy makers at the time most likely
16
felt that it would have been of no economic benefit for the company to
invest in 300km electricity power line that would not yield a positive return
on investment. Having this in mind, a decision to construct a mini grid
serviced by diesel generator sets within the district was made. At the time
this was an economically viable option as petroleum products were
extremely cheap and that electricity source options were basically limited to
hydro, diesel generator sets and thermal which was slowly being phased out
globally. Therefore in 1976 the electricity diesel generator power plant with
an installed capacity of 290 KVA was commissioned. This power plant
currently serves a customer base of about 198, ( based on the ZESCO
customer base formula only about 10% of the people in Luangwa district
have access to electricity, this includes domestic, industrial, commercial
and public sector customers).
Regrettably the operations of ZESCO in Luangwa district have in a way
been conducted in a manner that seems to be an abuse to the environment 5 .
Below we have highlighted aspects of the operations of ZESCO which we
thought contributed to the abuse to the environment in Luangwa district.
ZESCO is currently running three outdated diesel-driven generators in the
district. Over the years technology in diesel engines has changed, for
instance manufacturers are producing diesel engines that have low
emissions and high-efficiencies. At this point no attempt by the company
has been made to replace them. The diesel engines run twenty four (24)
hours a day while burning an average of 35,000 litres of diesel monthly.
Because of their age, their emissions of carbon dioxide and toxic
compounds to the atmosphere, is high (Sustainability Principle “1” and
“2”).
The use of capacitors and transformers that contain PCBs by ZESCO is
another issue of concern that relates to the abuse of the environment.
Nelson Manda [9] in his presentation on the use of PCBs reports that
ZESCO has well over 1600 PCB capacitors and a good number of
transformers with PCBs spread throughout the country. He further notes
that the company lacks resources for the disposal of the PCB waste
material. This lack of proper disposal facility for such toxic wastes means
5
Abuse to the environment here refers to failing to provide workers, families and
communities with safety, protection, health care etc.
17
that the waste will eventually find itself in landfill consequently causing
harm to the environment and its habitants (sustainability principle “2”).
Very often somewhat strong cleaning products that could be harmful to the
user and the environment are used to remove diesel, oil and other spillages
in the power plant. These products could be harmful to the user if they are
not handled properly and that if the user is not equipped with proper
protective attire. The products could also be harmful to the environment if
care is not taken when disposing off the residues (Sustainability Principle
“2”).
As stated earlier on, the diesel generator sets in Luangwa district are old
and therefore, the district often experiences blackouts due to their
malfunctioning. The local small scale business community in the district
has very often lost money due to the erratic electricity supply. Household
goods and appliances have also been destroyed due to the frequent
blackouts. This situation inhibits people to meeting their needs
(Sustainability Principle “4”).
The Plant Operators are exposed to excessive heat, noise and air pollution
coming from the engines. This obviously is not conducive for the
employees as it compromises their well-being (Sustainability Principle
“4”).
18
4 Sustainable Rural Electricity
Currently Available
Technologies
4.1 Evolution of Renewable Energy
Before the 1980s hydropower was the only widespread renewable energy
used for generating electricity. Since then, with the rise of concern over the
depletion of fossil fuels, coupled with environmental and security concerns,
increased attention and resources have been put into developing the known
renewable energy technologies. As a result, a wide range of technology
options are being developed and improved and made available for
commercial use. According to EUREC 6 [10] “The use of renewable energy
sources and rational use of energy are the fundamental vectors of a
responsible energy policy for the future. Because of their sustainable
character, renewable energy technologies are capable of preserving
resources, of ensuring security and diversity of energy supply, and
providing energy services, virtually without any environmental impact.
They thus contribute to the environmental protection of present and future
generations. It has become clear that the ‘business as usual’ scenario,
implying considerable increases in world energy demands, is not
sustainable in the medium term” [10]. This chapter will look at the key
renewable technology systems that are applicable to rural areas in
developing countries
4.2 Renewable Energies for Electricity Generation
There are many definitions for renewable energy although they are
generally convergent in application. The 2002 definition from the
International Energy Agency is:
“Renewable Energy is energy that is derived from natural processes that are
replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly or indirectly from the
sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is
energy generated from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower and ocean
resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.” [11].
6
EUREC refers to The European Renewable Energy Centres Agency
19
There are several reasons why renewable energies have become an
increasingly interesting source of usable energy:
a) By definition, being renewable, these sources of energy do not run
out. They regenerate and ‘replenish constantly’. We therefore do not
need to be concerned about the availability of this resource within
significant time spans.
b) Most of these energy sources are potentially less environmentally
pernicious and harmful than conventional sources of energy. The
emissions associated with fossil fuels and biomass are not present
with solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources.
Caution should be taken, however, not to disregard the
environmental impacts of these renewable sources. Damming water,
for example, for hydropower can have severe environmental
consequences. There are also health benefits from using energy
sources which have no particulate emissions, which is a big problem
with many fuel-based options.
c) Many of these renewable sources have the potential of being locally
available and relatively easily extracted and processed from the raw
form relative to the ubiquitous fossil fuels that are currently used. In
the rural context, this means that users can have a source of energy
that is available and independent of the many factors affecting fossil
fuels, in terms of price and availability and quality, ensuring the
long-term reliability of systems that use renewable energies. There
are also several reasons why renewable sources of energy (aside
from biomass) are not more widely used in the rural context.
However, the technologies for some of these sources of energy are still in
development and not very efficient. The renewable resources most
commonly found in rural development literature consist of biomass, smallhydro, solar and wind energies. These will each be briefly discussed.
4.2.1
Solar
After biomass fuels, solar energy is the most widely used and fastest
growing form of renewable energy for isolated rural areas in developing
countries. The ultimate source of much of the world's energy is the sun,
which provides the earth with light, heat and radiation. While many
20
technologies derive fuel from one form of solar energy or another, there are
also technologies that directly transform the sun's energy into electricity.
The sun bathes the earth in a steady, enormous flow of radiant energy that
far exceeds that the world requires for electricity [12]. Much research
continues to be done into capturing solar energy and converting it to
electricity.
Since generating electricity directly from sunlight does not deplete any of
the earth's natural resources and supplies the earth with energy
continuously, solar energy is a renewable source of electricity generation.
Solar energy is our earth's primary source of renewable energy. There are
two different approaches to generate electricity from the sun, namely
photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal technologies.
Photovoltaic (PV)
Initially developed for the space program over 30 years ago, PV, like a fuel
cell, relies upon chemical reactions to generate electricity. PV cells are
small, square shaped semiconductors manufactured in thin film layers from
silicon and other conductive materials. When sunlight strikes the PV cell,
chemical reactions release electrons, generating electric current. The small
current from individual PV cells, which are installed in modules, can power
individual homes and businesses or can be plugged into the bulk electricity
grid.
Solar-thermal
Solar-thermal technologies are, more or less, a traditional electricity
generating technology. They use the sun's heat to create steam to drive an
electric generator. Parabolic trough systems use reflectors to concentrate
sunlight to heat oil which in turn creates steam to drive a standard turbine.
Uses, Benefits and Shortcomings of Solar Power
Electricity generated from solar power is currently used in a variety of ways
as listed below:
a) It can be used instantaneously, if there is no form of electricity
storage;
b) It can be stored in batteries for use on demand – its utility is highly
dependent on the amount of electricity needed;
21
c) It can be used for particular applications from which use can be
derived when required, e.g. pumping water into a gravity tank,
which can be used when required.
d) Very low green house gas emissions
e) Very low air pollution emissions
f) Very low water requirements
g) Modular, low profile and low – maintenance makes it very attractive
for isolated, non – grid rural electrification
h) Very safe for workers and public
A principal short-coming of using solar energy, aside from the cost and the
technological expertise required to install and maintain, is that its
generation is dependent on sunlight. Without forms of storage, the
electricity cannot be put to good use outside of daylight hours. Without a
battery, for example, it could not be used for refrigeration of vaccines in
rural areas, as the vaccines would possibly spoil in the evening or on cloudy
days. Energy storage must, therefore, be factored into consideration for
such uses. The capital financing does not require large up-front
investments: the technology can be diffused at a rate at which economic
demand for it exists. Another disadvantage of this source is it involves
some toxics during the manufacture of solar panels.
Success stories
Solar powered Photovoltaic Energy is part of Rural Revolution in the rural
areas where grid power is not yet reached. In India Solar Photovoltaic
System is successfully installed in large number of villages.
A household can generate most of the electricity they need with
photovoltaic cells on their rooftops. If there isn't enough sunlight at times,
electricity can be stored in batteries for cloudy days. Solar water heating
systems pay for themselves in three to five years [13]. The technological
challenge we face is to find ways to make solar technologies affordable for
everyone.
The Solar Photovoltaic system consists of an 800/860 WP (weather
permitting) photovoltaic arrangement, a permanent DC magnet motordriven floating pump which can pump water from a depth of eight meters
through the optimum of 6.5 meters. It can ideally function in a wide-mouth
well with a flow rate of 70,000 litres a day. The photovoltaic modules on
the solar panel capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
22
The panel is connected to the pump via a plug so that the farmer finds it
easy to use. The system works as long as there is sunshine. For example in
Tamil Nadu in South India, where the sun is of plentiful some farmers
heard about the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) water pumping system. It
promised an end to the water problem in their fields and so they installed
one such system. There's plenty of water now, and at a reasonable cost
since solar photovoltaic water pump works out far cheaper than a diesel
pump set [13].
Another case of success scored by solar PV is in the Sundarbans which is,
the largest delta region, and one of the remotest areas of West Bengal,
India. Sundarbans consists of small river islands spread out over a large
area and accessible only by waterways. The primary source of lighting is
the use of kerosene lighting devices and torch lights, followed by limited
use of diesel generator (DG) sets. A range Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems
were installed here for domestic lightening installed under the INDO-US
project on Solar PV lighting system [13].
The Million Solar Roofs program in United States and European Union
aims to install solar hot water systems and photovoltaic systems by 2010.
Kenya has a high penetration of household photovoltaic systems. In 1999
more than 80,000 systems were in place and annual sales are about 20,000
systems. Interestingly, the market operates without significant external aid
or support [14].
4.2.2
Small Scale Hydro-Power
Hydro power is the largest and most mature application of renewable
energy. Small-scale Hydro Power (SHP) is mainly ‘run of the river’ (i.e. not
involving significant impounding of water and therefore not requiring the
construction of large dams and reservoirs). SHP also mainly involves
smaller manufacturers. There is no international consensus on the definition
of small hydropower. In Canada 'small' can refer to upper limit capacities of
between 20 and 25 MW, in the United States 'small' can mean 30MW,
however, a value of up to 10 MW total capacity is becoming generally
accepted. Small hydro can be further subdivided into mini hydro (usually
defined as <500kW) and micro hydro (<100kW). For previously
unelectrified areas of the developing world, where the model of
decentralized electricity generation is being pursued (for low-density
populations), mini and micro hydro power would be more appropriate.
23
Although the potential for small hydro-electric systems depends on the
availability of suitable water flow and geological conditions, where the
resource exists it can provide cheap, clean and reliable electricity.
On the other hand, it is not a very ‘flexible’ option. Hydro infrastructure
can generally not be implemented in a modular fashion and is
geographically constrained. Based on water flows and pressures, certain
generator sizes and types are most appropriate. These parameters will often
require a certain population size living relatively close to the source to be
economically viable. SHP has to be used in a mini-grid to be viable. Small
hydro power has a huge, as yet untapped potential in most areas of the
world and can make a significant contribution to future energy needs. It
depends largely on already proven and developed technology, yet there is
considerable scope for development and optimization of this technology.
Where the demand is sufficient and the physical conditions appropriate
(dammable river with sufficient flow), SHP is often a choice technology for
cost and maintenance reasons.
The best geographical areas for exploiting small-scale hydro power are
those where there are steep rivers flowing all year round, for example, the
hill areas of countries with high year-round rainfall, or the great mountain
ranges and their foothills, like the Andes and the Himalayas. Islands with
moist marine climates, such as the Caribbean Islands, the Philippines and
Indonesia are also suitable. Low-head 7 turbines have been developed for
small-scale exploitation of rivers where there is a small head but sufficient
flow to provide adequate power.
Benefits and Shortcomings of Small Scale Hydro Power
Small Scale Hydro-Power has the following advantages:
a) Renewable ( if silt removed in reservoir)
b) Very low green house gas emissions
c) Very low air pollution emissions
d) Inexpensive to build and operate
e) Safe for workers and public
It however has the following shortcomings:
7
The static head of a pump is the maximum height (pressure) it can deliver. It is measured
in metres or pascals.
24
a) Dependent on stream flow
b) Large number of small dams can have significant effects on
terrestrial and aquatic habitats, possibly as great as a large dam
producing the same amount of electricity.
Success stories
Decentralized small-scale water power or micro-hydro schemes are a
particularly attractive option in many rural areas. Water is a traditional
source of power in some parts of Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka etc. The microhydro power plays an important role in the socio-economic development of
isolated hilly and mountain areas. Micro hydro is perhaps the most mature
of the modern small-scale decentralized energy supply technologies used in
developing countries. There are tens of thousands of plants in the “micro”
range operating successfully in China, and significant numbers are operated
in wide ranging countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam and
Peru. This experience shows that in certain circumstances micro hydro can
be profitable in financial terms, while at others, even unprofitable plant can
exhibit strong positive impacts on the lives of poor people [15].
4.2.3
Wind
Wind power is the world's fastest growing electricity generation
technology. Wind is a renewable resource because it is inexhaustible. It is a
result of the sun shining unevenly on the earth. The corresponding daily and
seasonal changes in temperature consistently generate wind, producing a
fuel source that can never be depleted.
State-of-the-art wind power plants use large spinning blades to capture the
kinetic energy in moving wind, which then is transferred to rotors that
produce electricity. At the best wind fuel sites, wind plants today are nearly
competitive with the conventional natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants even when natural gas prices have recently been at historically low levels.
Regions where average wind speeds exceed 12 miles per hour are currently
the best wind power plant sites [16].
Current costs of wind-generated electricity at prime sites approach the costs
of a new coal-fired power plant. Wind power is the lowest-cost renewable
energy technology available on the market today. According to the
Department of Energy, the costs of wind power are projected to continue to
fall and may rank the cheapest electricity source of all options by 2020.
25
Uses, Benefits and Shortcomings of Wind Power
Similar to PV technologies, electricity generated from wind power can be
used in different ways:
a) It can be used instantaneously, if there is no form of electricity
storage
b) It can be stored in batteries for use on demand
c) It can be used for particular applications from which use can be
derived when required, e.g. pumping water into a gravity tank,
which can be used when required. Wind systems, if economically
viable, are very appropriate for rural electrification for a range of
reasons.
The technology comes with the following benefits:
a) The systems are modular. PV systems present the ultimate modular
approach. Wind systems provide larger loads per installation;
however each installation can work independently, while being
linked to others when necessary.
b) It is scalable. Like PV systems, a network can be gradually built to
suit the electricity demands and the financial capacity of the users.
Wind system designs are flexible, with outputs typically ranging
between 400 W and 50 kW.
c) With few moving parts, and passive controls, maintenance
requirements are very low.
d) The ‘source’ of energy (kinetic wind), is free, renewable and
environmentally benign when harnessed.
e) The technology is sophisticated yet rugged, implying long-life and a
low amortization rate.
f) Very low green house gas emissions
g) Very low air pollution emissions
h) Very low water requirements
i) Very safe for workers and public
Again, like solar energy, the primary shortcomings of wind energy – apart
from having to be placed in regions where there is sufficient wind power,
are:
a) It requires a form of energy storage for periods when there is not
sufficient wind.
b) Limited to windy areas
c) Potentially high hazard to birds
d) Moderate land requirements
26
Success stories
Power generation from wind has emerged as one of the most successful
programmes in the renewable energy sector, and has started making
meaningful contributions to the overall power requirements of some States
in India. Wind power installations worldwide have crossed 8500 MW
producing about 14 billion KWh of energy annually. A total capacity of
about 5500 MW has been installed in Europe, 1700 MW in USA, and 992
MW in India [17].
Since 1994 the 360 inhabitants of the village of Bayinabao in Inner
Mongolia have been provided with electricity from hybrid electricity from a
hybrid electricity system that employs two 5 KW wind turbines, a battery
storage unit, and a diesel generator. In this system the wind turbines
provide about 80% of the electricity generated [14].
In counties like Denmark and Germany, meteorological research are
predicting the output of wind farms a few hours in advance and has
produced computer programs that optimize the operational and fuel costs of
regional electricity production [14].
4.2.4
Biomass
Biomass refers to wood, crops, harvest residues, urban refuse, or methane
gas produced by landfills that are burned to spin turbines and produce
electricity. Biomass is an attractive energy source because it avoids two
drawbacks accompanying most other forms of renewable energy: high cost
of collection and intermittency. The solar collectors are the leaves of plants,
requiring much less capital than wind turbines or PV cells and providing a
convenient medium for energy storage, allowing electricity to produced ondemand, and contributing no net carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
However, if biomass were used for electricity production on a large scale,
the impacts would be significant. For example, commercial applications of
biomass would require vast acreage of fertile land to be committed to trees
or crops grown specifically for energy production. Furthermore, biomassfueled electricity production would also be extremely water intensive. Put
in perspective, to produce electricity for just one household over the course
of a year with biomass as a source would require over 25,000 gallons of
water and almost three quarters of an acre of land. It also produces 232
pounds of carbon monoxide per household each year -- more than thirty
times the level of any other source, as well as significant amounts of other
27
air pollutants. Combustion of wood contributes about 1 percent of the
nations electricity supply, and the electricity generated from waste about
half that amount. Waste is not considered a viable option for large-scale
electricity production and is not a truly renewable resource.
Benefits and Shortcomings of Biomass
Biomass has the following advantages over conventional energy sources:
a)
b)
c)
d)
Renewable energy source
Very low green house gas emissions
Can produce energy on – demand
Energy is easily stored
However, Biomass has the following limitations:
a)
b)
c)
d)
Low energy return on investment
High air pollution emissions
Very high water and land requirements
High occupational hazards
Success stories
Sweden is the world leader in creating a working biomass market. Its use of
biomass for energy purposes - domestic heating and combined heat and
power generation – has increased 4 -5 fold in the past 10 years. And the
average costs of biomass have come down considerably. Swedish forests
have met this growing demand with ease.
The growing contribution of biomass has been combined with a big
increase in the number of companies supplying wood and wood products
and in the number of parties using biomass. As a result competition has led
to lower prices, combined with innovation and more efficient biomass
supply systems. Sweden plans to increase the 20 % share of biomass in
total primary energy supply to 40 % in 2020, largely by extending and
improving the use of residues from production forests and wood processing
industries [18].
PRO-ALCOOL in Brazil is the largest programme of commercial biomass
utilization in the world. It presents several environmental benefits, reduces
import expenditures and creates jobs in rural areas. Another promising
option is the implementation of a large cogeneration programme for sugar
28
and alcohol. The programme has positive environmental and economic
impacts. In 1999 it resulted in an emission reduction of almost 13 mega
tonnes of carbon [14].
29
5 Sustainable Electricity Sources Appropriate to
Luangwa District
5.1 Selection Criteria
The cost of extending the grid to remote areas is very high and yet the load
demand for most of rural areas is very low. The cost of the grid extension
projects cannot be justified even from the social perspective. Given these
constraints, success in electrifying large parts of the population through
conventional grid services would not be attained for a long time. Although
electricity from stand – alone systems could be an option, the poor
distribution and lack of maintenance makes electricity from stand – alone
diesel generators both expensive and unreliable. In view of the above
situation, the research team identified and analyzed some of the different
sustainable rural electricity sources as described in chapter 4. In this
chapter, we examined which of these sources would be appropriate to
Luangwa district. The team developed the following criteria to select the
relevant sources in Luangwa.
5.1.1
Geographical Aspects
In analysing the existing electricity technologies, we established that
geography is an essential element for adopting any of these renewable
electricity technologies. For instance, the electricity from solar systems
requires that there should be plenty of sunlight. Similarly the other sources
of electricity such as wind, biomass and hydro require that there should be
enough wind, vegetation and water resources respectively. Hence, the
geography of an area is a very significant aspect when deciding on which
technology is appropriate for the given area.
5.1.2
Vision
Rural electrification should promote sustainable socio-economic and
environmental development of rural communities. It should be reliable,
affordable, safe, and environmentally sound and economically viable. The
electricity technology that is appropriate to Luangwa district should be
generated and used in a manner that would facilitate compliance with this
vision of sustainable rural electrification. An attempt was made whether the
chosen electricity technology answered the following three questions:
30
1.
2.
3.
5.1.3
will this measure bring us closer to compliance with all the
principles of success ( i.e., Sustainability Principles ) ?
is the measure possible to develop further, so that it does not
lead into a blind alley (i.e., is it a flexible, technical platform) ?
is it likely to generate a good return on investment 8 ?
Survey Responses
The answers to the questionnaire that we developed and sent to the
randomly selected respondents were also used in choosing the appropriate
sources in Luangwa District.
5.1.4
Case Studies
We also examined successful comparative cases to see how these
renewable electricity sources have been implemented in other areas. For
instance, the solar power systems in India have become very popular and a
huge success rate has been achieved in the process of rural electrification.
5.2 Technologies Perceived Inappropriate
The research team identified that Biomass electricity technology and Wind
electricity technology were not feasible to Luangwa district due to the
following reasons mentioned below.
5.2.1
Biomass Electricity Technology
Biomass can be classified as plant biomass (woody, non – woody,
processed waste, or processed fuel). Luangwa district experiences very poor
rainfall and hence the vegetation in the district is very limited with drought
resistant plants as stated in chapter 3.
As earlier pointed out, Luangwa district is already suffering from a trend of
systematic deforestation. Large scale production of biomass in Luangwa
can have considerable negative impacts on soil fertility, water use,
biodiversity and landscape. For biomass to become a major fuel, energy
crops and plantations will have to become a significant land use category.
8
Here considered in the broadest sense, i.e., financial, social, political capital.
31
Land requirements will depend on energy crop yields, water availability,
and the efficiency of biomass conversion to usable fuels.
The animal residue (dung) from the Luangwa South National Park could be
a viable option. However, the collection would involve the use of heavy
vehicles resulting in air pollution and land degradation in the natural
reserve. Human safety in the collection process may also be threatened due
to possible attacks from wild animals.
The success in Sweden can be attributed to its geographic features like high
rainfall, huge area of vegetation, and big increase in the number of
companies supplying wood and wood products. It is quite interesting to
note that Swedish forests have met their demand with ease without
hampering the ecology of the area.
Based on the above explanation, one could assume that Biomass electricity
technology is not in close compliance with the vision of sustainable rural
electrification. Hence the research team suggested the inappropriateness of
Biomass in Luangwa. The fact that none of the respondents indicated that
biomass could be an alternative source, further strengthens our assumption
that the technology will not be appropriate for the district.
5.2.2
Wind Electricity Technology
The best wind power plant sites for electricity generation as stated in
chapter 5, requires that the average wind speeds should exceed 12 miles per
hour. Luangwa district is basically hilly and in some parts form steep
escarpments. As explained in chapter 3, Luangwa Township is in the land
below 900 meters above the seal level. Hence the district is in a
mountainous area where the wind cannot blow freely. According to ZESCO
statistics, wind energy regime in Luangwa is relatively low, with an average
of 2.5 meters per second [8].
The success of wind technology in Denmark, Germany and in India
mentioned in chapter 5 can be attributed to the feature that those countries
have a relatively large wind potential.
Based on the above and from our questionnaire responses, pursuing this
technology would not be an ideal option for Luangwa.
32
5.3 Technologies Perceived Appropriate
We further established that Solar and Small scale hydro electricity
technologies were the most feasible ones in the study area for the reasons
mentioned below.
5.3.1
Solar Electricity Technology
Photovoltaic solar energy conversion is the direct conversion of sunlight
into electricity as stated in chapter 5. One of the major considerations for
the establishment of solar electricity technology is the availability of
sunlight. Luangwa district is located in the hottest and driest part of the
country. The temperatures range from 30 degrees C to 35 degrees C and
thus the district has great potential for this technology.
We established in the foregoing that generating electricity directly from
sunlight does not deplete any of the earth's natural resources and supplies
the earth with energy continuously. In addition, the generation and use of
this technology is not associated with the emission of greenhouse gases and
ultimately safe for workers and the public. Therefore solar electricity
technology could be a suitable option since it would go along way to
facilitate adherence to the basic principles of sustainability mentioned
earlier.
Though the solar electricity technology when compared with other
technologies is expensive to install and maintain [14], it is interesting to
note that it could actually be a more economically viable option if all
environmental and social costs were taken into consideration in the
comparison of resource options. In this case, though the pay back period is
long, it can be still a viable option, when all the environmental and social
costs are considered.
Solar electricity technology has been very successful in the southern part of
India primarily due to the favourable climatic conditions a well as sound
funding policy. 90 % of our survey respondents were equally in favour of
this technology because of the climatic conditions and their familiarity with
the technology. To this effect, we deduced that solar electricity would be an
appropriate source for the district.
33
5.3.2
Small Scale Hydro Electricity Technology
We highlighted in chapter 4 that the best geographical areas for exploiting
small-scale hydro power are those where there are steep rivers flowing all
year round, for example, the great mountain ranges and their foothills. We
stated in the fore going that the relief of Luangwa district is basically hilly
and in some parts forms steep escarpments. This coupled with the fact that
the district lies at the confluence of two major rivers that flow all year
round suggests that Small Scale Hydro could be a feasible option.
In Nepal, Peru and Sri Lanka water is a traditional source of power. Micro
hydro technology was highly successful in these areas and it played an
important role in the socio-economic development of isolated hilly and
mountain areas.
Hydro electricity technologies are criticized, among other things, for the
construction of huge dams or reservoirs and disrupting the natural flow of
rivers. Small Scale Hydro however does not require significant impounding
of water and therefore does not require constructing large dams and
reservoirs.
Zambia like many other developing countries is facing serious economic
problems, as a result policy makers are reluctant to pursue renewable
technologies because of the cost implication involved. However, the cost
implications for the installation, operation and maintenance of Small Scale
Hydro are relatively cheaper than other technologies. Given that the cost
implications involved are less than other technologies, Small Scale Hydro
could be a feasible option for Luangwa district.
We pointed out in chapter 3 that the current service providers’ (ZESCO)
main electricity generation technology is Hydro. To this effect the Small
Scale Hydro is an already familiar technology. As a result, less time and
money would be spent on capacity building.
34
6 Barriers
towards
Sustainable
Electrification Transition
Rural
It is a known fact that renewable energy, electricity in particular,
technologies are of no doubt cleaner and more socially acceptable than
other sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear energy. However these non
sustainable electricity technologies have been often chosen over the
sustainable ones when policy makers felt that a new source had to be
installed perhaps for reasons that we will discuss in this chapter.
A wide range of barriers seem to limit the introduction of sustainable
electricity technologies throughout the world with developing countries
being affected the most [19]. In this chapter we looked at some of the
barriers that could affect the transition to sustainable rural electrification in
Luangwa district. We shall further explored policies and programs for
overcoming them. The barriers highlighted below are based on both
responses to our questionnaires and from relevant literature review.
6.1 Financial Constraints
All the respondents to our questionnaire highlighted the fact that money or
financing was a barrier towards the transition to sustainable rural
electrification in Luangwa district. These renewable electricity technologies
such as solar which we recommended for Luangwa district is expensive to
install and maintain as compared to the other recommended (small scale
hydro) technologies. Zambia like most developing countries is faced with a
number of life threatening issues, such as high unemployment, poverty,
HIV etc that need urgent attention. Given the fact that renewable electricity
technologies have a relatively long payback, policy makers have doubts
about such investments and rather opt to put their resources in investments
that have seemingly short payback periods or put more resources into issues
that seem more life threatening to them. As a result, the energy sector in
Zambia seldom receives a huge funding allocation from the national budget
to support such projects fully. At times national budget priorities are
misplaced by government in developing countries, for instance a huge
chunk of money in the national budget could be given to a sector like
Works and Supply so that expensive motor vehicles are bought for
government officials at the expense of pressing national issues, such as the
35
current unsustainable rural electrification in Zambia, that could be
beneficial to the majority of the people in the country.
The current electricity service operator (ZESCO) in Luangwa and other
potential electricity providers could opt to turn to money lending
institutions such as commercial banks to fund sustainable rural
electrification projects using renewable technologies. However they are
discouraged from doing so because of the high interest rates that the
commercial banks demand upon repayment. Commercial bank interests
rates in Zambia are high ranging from about 30% to 50% and as we stated
earlier on these technologies have a relatively long payback hence such
high interest rates on money borrowed is not viable economically especially
for small potential service providers. Service providers that would opt to
borrow money from banks with such high interest rates would probably
provide the service with high tariffs that could limit the number of
subscribers as majority of the people can barely afford the current ZESCO
tariffs. This again would be unsustainable as it contributes to an increase to
conditions that undermine people’s ability to meet their needs.
Some money lending institutions worldwide have been quite reluctant to
provide loans to renewable energy technologies reasons being that these
projects have been viewed as small, unfamiliarity with the technologies
involved hence see it as a big risk especially if the applicant has no proper
collateral, and other considerations that the money lenders would take [19].
There are ways that the barrier towards the transition to sustainable rural
electrification can be overcome in Luangwa district. The current situation in
Luangwa district and the other nine stations that are being serviced diesel
generator sets is unsustainable. The policy makers, in this case the
government of the Republic of Zambia, is fully aware of this the situation
yet they are not moving in quickly to source funding to address this
problem. Allocating more funding to the energy sector in the national
budget could be a step forward in sourcing funding for the project.
Government could also intervene in the financing by proposing incentives
and introducing policies that could make money lending institutions lower
their interest rates or encourage potential electricity providers to invest in
electricity generated from renewable energy technologies. Financing at
attractive (low) interest rates by money lending institutions can help to
diffuse and build markets for sustainable electricity technologies. For
36
instance in India 10 year loans at low interest rates were offered by the PV
solar dealers as part of India’s comprehensive renewable energy
development program, as a result 400,000 households were using solar PV
lighting systems as of 2000 [19].
Government could also set up revolving loan funds that entrepreneurs that
wish to invest in such renewable electricity technologies could borrow at an
attractive interest rate. A revolving loan fund system financed solar PV
systems for about 10,000 rural households in the Dominican Republic and
Honduras as of 1999 [19]. If the Zambian government allocated more
funds to the energy sector in the national budget, the same funds could be
used to set up a revolving loan fund which potential service providers
access at a low interest rate. This would not be new as the government
through the national budget set a revolving fund to boost the mining sector
2004.
A number of developed industrialized and developing countries are
currently providing financial incentives for renewable electricity
technologies in a number of ways such as tax credits, low interest rate loans
and so on. However, despite the incentives renewable electricity
technologies are still too expensive for many poor households that are not
served by the electricity grid in rural areas of most developing countries. It
is interesting to note that the renewable electricity sources could actually be
a more economically viable option if all environmental and social costs
were taken into consideration in the comparison of resource options.
Incentives are therefore justified in helping to make renewable electricity
technologies affordable and to establish and build markets. In an endeavour
to achieve this goal it is imperative that incentives be well designed and
predictable [19].
6.2 Lack of expertise knowledge and insufficient end user
information
A good number of our respondents also pointed out that lack of expertise
knowledge and insufficient end user information was a barrier towards the
shifting to sustainable rural electricity technologies.
37
The “lack of expertise knowledge” in this case refers to the service provider
while “insufficient end user information” refers to the customer or the
service user.
As stated in chapter 4 the current electricity service supplier (ZESCO) in
Luangwa district and Zambia at large, generates electricity from two
sources i.e. hydro and diesel generator sets. It is only common knowledge
that the company is equipped with manpower that is conversant with these
two technologies. Therefore it would not be difficult to set up a small scale
hydro power plant in Luangwa district as the technology involved is already
familiar to the responsible technical staff. However, solar PV has never
been used by ZESCO and no other potential electricity service provider has
used this technology on a large scale in Zambia. The technology involved
in the installation and use of the solar PV is foreign to the current electricity
service provider and to the potential ones as well.
In exception of a few individuals, solar PV technology is also foreign to the
majority of the end users in Zambia. In fact a number of end users or
customers have a negative perspective about solar PV. The negativity in
this concept implies that the majority of the potential end users feel that
electricity generated from solar PV is not as effective and reliable as the
hydro and diesel electricity sources. This misconception and doubt come as
a result of lack of sufficient information to the end users and to the policy
makers about the product. At times obtaining information on the product
could take time and perhaps cost money.
This barrier could be overcome by engaging capacity building at both
service provider and consumer or end user levels. Capacity building is
essential if renewable electricity technologies such as solar PV are going to
make a major contribution to future energy, more precisely, electricity
needs. All nations ought to have expertise in a wide range of technical,
marketing, managerial and public policy areas which include technology
development, training of managers and end users, sustainable energy
business development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation etc [19].
In order for capacity building to be successful at both individual and
organizational level, there is need to form and staff public sector agencies,
research institutes, and local training, outreach, and service centres. It is
also essential to staff and train potential electricity providers that may want
to pursue renewable energy sources. ZESCO could as well start training
38
programs for a number of its staff, or it could carry out an in-house training
program by first of all training the trainer.
Capacity and institution building in part means forming strong national
renewable energy centres and programs. The renewable energy centres and
programs have been successful in Brazil, India, China, Japan and Eastern
Europe [19]. These centres carry out a number of activities which include
demonstrations, information dissemination, training, financing etc.
National governments and international assistance agencies ought to give
priority to capacity building if the transition to electricity generated from
renewable energy sources is to be successful globally.
6.3 Political Hindrances
Policy makers such as the government could at times be a hindrance
towards the transition to electricity generated from renewable energy
sources for a number of reasons.
Some governments may have some reservations towards electricity
produced from renewable energy technologies perhaps due to lack of
sufficient information on the technology and other logistics involved. Other
policy makers that may have sufficient knowledge of the technology and
logistics involved in the product at hand simply do not have a strong will
power to initiate the transition. Some governments decide to stick to the
use of conventional electricity sources such as hydro and diesel generator
sets because of tradition, familiarity, economic strength, etc.
Political influence from conventional electric utilities, fossil fuel dealers
and perhaps suppliers of conventional electricity technologies often make it
hard for financial incentives or markets towards renewable energy.
As stated when we discussed the financing barrier, the fact that
governments see renewable electricity technologies as having a relatively
long payback very often investment priority in terms of money or
incentives would be given to projects that are perceived to have a shorter
payback and other benefits such as employment opportunities. For instance
the government of Zambia in 2004 through the national budget
implemented a comprehensive economic restructuring program to the
mining sector that was aimed at promoting private led mining companies.
39
This move was aimed at enhancing the economy and providing
employment opportunities, but is very problematic from a sustainability
perspective.
Some renewable energy markets in some developing countries have been
hurt by high subsidies and donor-driven programs. In some cases, some
developing countries were required to buy subsidized equipment from the
donor community, inhibiting the development of local manufacturing
capability. This restriction delayed the manufacturing of large-scale wind
turbines in China [19].
Because of high subsidies and donor-driven programs, end users may
expect to get free and heavily subsidized systems and services which could
undermine the emerging and developing of local commercial markets. For
instance in Zimbabwe many local enterprises entered the solar PV market
in response to heavily subsidized donor-based program. However when the
program ended these enterprises started limping and eventually collapsed
and the houses were left without any service infrastructure. The irony of it
all is that the program hindered the construction of a sustainable market for
solar PV rather than promoting it [19].
This barrier can be overcome by policy makers engaging in capacity
building for themselves so that the technologies are familiar to them before
decisions are made regarding installation of renewable energy sources. It is
not good enough to only that policy makers have sufficient information
about electricity generated from renewable energy sources, but it is also
cardinal that policy makers have strong will to initiate the transition.
Policy makers also need to critically assess issues that would be in the best
interest of the nation when it comes to offering financial and other
incentives rather than bending down to political pressure coming from
traditional big corporations that are threatened by the emerging renewable
energy sources.
6.4 Quality Problems
Another barrier to successful transition towards sustainable rural
electrification in Luangwa district and many other developing countries is
the issue of quality of the product. Because of the cost involved in
renewable energy (electricity) technologies, most developing countries
40
opted to buy products from suppliers where they can get a good bargain.
However the quality of the products with compromised prices is usually
low and not durable.
Some electricity sources from renewable technologies such as solar PV lack
standardization and quality control. For instance it has been observed that
the expansion of the solar PV market in Africa has been slowed down
because of the poor quality of a number of products [19]. The situation at
Katondwe Mission Hospital in which the solar panels at times fail to store
enough energy to sustain the operations at the hospital is yet another
example of poor quality of products.
At times systems can be assembled or installed improperly. At the same
time, service and repair capabilities can be lacking or inadequate. It has
further been observed that because of the poor installation, maintenance and
repair capability for rural solar PV, serious problems have been noted in
Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya [19].
The barrier pertaining to quality could perhaps be overcome by seeing to it
that the service providers or product dealers carrying out surveys of what of
products or brand names have been used in countries in which a particular
renewable energy technology e.g. solar PV has been successful. After the
survey the service providers or product dealers could consider purchasing
products or brand names that are the same or very similar to those which
have proven to be successful (perhaps ISO certified products).
Another way of overcoming this problem is to strictly adhere to
recommended installation and maintenance specifications by the product
manufacturer. It is also vital that only qualified and authorized personnel
are allowed to install and provide maintenance service to the system.
6.5 Pricing and Tax Obstacles
The transition towards sustainable electricity sources or renewable energy
is also threatened if the price for conventional energy sources is subsidized
or structured so that it is not based on actual cost which include production,
use, social and environmental [19]. At times the buyback rates offered by
the power utilities may not reflect all the benefits of renewable energy
sources such as value of diversification, increased system reliability etc.
The pricing distortions make the competition between electricity generated
41
from renewable energy sources and conventional electricity sources stiffer
[19].
Pricing of materials needed for the installation of a renewable energy
source is also a barrier to a speedy transition. For instance the price of
locally manufactured cement which is needed for the construction of a dam
for a small hydro power station is high in Zambia.
High taxes in terms of goods or equipment purchased and services offered
can be also retard the transition and growth of sustainable rural
electrification in developing countries. Some countries subject imported
renewable energy technologies or components such as PV cells and wind
turbines to high import duties, hence driving the up their cost. The Zambian
government has very often put in place tax exemptions for products
purchased by some sectors, for instance relevant equipment imported for
agricultural purposes were exempted from the payment of import duty in
the 2003 to 2004 financial year as a way of encouraging the growth of
agriculture in the country. Similarly as way of promoting sustainable rural
electrification it is possible that the government could still waive import
duty on relevant products purchased by potential entrepreneurs who wish to
invest in sustainable rural electrification. Service taxes could also be
reduced as an incentive for potential service providers to expedite the
transition and growth of sustainable rural electrification.
6.6 Apathy by the general public
Zambia like most developing countries is faced with high unemployment
levels, and high poverty levels resulting in people being complacent toward
environmental related issues. People spend most of their time seeking ways
to meet their various basic needs therefore issues relating to sustainability
such as deforestation may seem trivial to them. This is probably common in
most developing countries that are faced with high levels of unemployment
and poverty.
The majority of the youth who are expected to be lead change agents
because of their energy and expected awareness of issues pertaining to
sustainability, show less interest in such matter. In many countries young
people constitute a very high proportion of the total population and total
unemployment, comprising more than half the total number of the
unemployed in Africa, for instance the youth in Zambia makes up about
42
50% of the population. In many countries the young unemployed spend
most of their time looking for their first job and wanting to establish a
career for themselves as a result environmental related issues are irrelevant
to them [20].
The issue of apathy towards sustainability especially in the electricity
power generation sector could be overcome through capacity building.
Zambia at the beginning of 2004 implemented renewable energy training
augments in which the youth were totally engaged. The project has
stimulated a lot of interest amongst young people as it has presented a
challenge of starting businesses in renewable energy technologies and about
200 youths who have so far benefited in this program have formed a
network of young people in renewable energy. The network is called
“Renewable Energy entrepreneurship Network (REEN)”. REEN is
currently rehearsing with UNIDO 9 country office through the ad-hoc
committee which was ushered in during the meeting [18].
It is cardinal that the host of barriers we identified in this chapter is
addressed if we are to successfully reach our desired vision of sustainable
rural electrification in Luangwa district and in many other developing
countries.
9
United Nations Industrial Development Organisation
43
7 Potential Opportunities and Benefits
Sustainable Electricity Supply in Luangwa
of
The concept of sustainable development refers to development that ‘meets
the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs’ [21]. This has social, economic, and
environmental dimensions and the manner in which energy and in
particular electricity is generated and used plays an essential role in all
three areas.
Sustainable development however has many aspects that do not explicitly
involve energy, much less electricity. Nevertheless, getting energy right
may render other aspects more achievable; and getting electricity right
offers a distinctive and potent opportunity to reshape the use and provision
of energy of all kinds in more sustainable directions. For rural electricity
energy systems to advance sustainable rural development, emphasis should
be on services rather than on electricity supply or consumption as an end in
itself. It is therefore important to focus on basic services such as cooking,
heating, lighting, space conditioning, safe water and safe storage of food
that will create opportunities for people to meet their basic needs.
In this chapter, we identified and examined some of the short and medium
term economic, socio-political and environmental benefits of transitioning
towards sustainable electricity generation and use that could help to
accelerate strategic progress towards sustainable rural communities in
developing countries with a particular focus on our study area.
7.1 Economic Benefits
As already indicated in chapter 3, the inhabitants of Luangwa District rely
basically on subsistence farming, petty trading and peasant fishing for their
livelihood. The unreliable and inadequate supply of electricity in the area
seriously impairs all forms of economic development. The fact that only a
small proportion of the population can afford to pay for electricity also
offers limited opportunities for economic activities to expand. In addition,
women and children spend a significant part of their time available for
work in searching for fuel wood for cooking and other purposes. This
working time can be devoted to other productive activities such as
44
agriculture and craftsmanship. The current energy system is therefore not
sufficiently reliable or affordable to support widespread economic growth.
Access to reliable electricity would help foster economic growth, create
direct employment and extend the productive workdays.
Luangwa has the potential to develop economically and access to reliable
and affordable electricity would stimulate economic growth resulting in
income generation which would in turn enable people to meet their needs.
Agricultural productivity for instance, can be enhanced with the provision
of pump irrigation and other electric powered farm machinery. Given the
fact that the area lies at the confluence of two major rivers (River Zambezi
and the Luangwa River), there is the possibility of improving fishing
activities with the use of refrigerators and other storage facilities. This
could also trigger the setting up of a fish processing factory that would
create employment for some people.
The provision of reliable and affordable electricity would also help foster
micro-enterprise development in Luangwa District. Lighting for example
can allow small shop owners, village market and handicraft enterprises to
extend their commercial activities to the evenings. Small businesses
utilizing electric sewing machines, water pumps and other electric
appliances would also benefit from the availability of electricity. Luangwa
is located where Zambia borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This
strategic location makes it possible for the inhabitants of Luangwa to trade
with people in neighbouring towns in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Reliable electricity supply would stimulate economic activities and
encourage this trans-national trade thereby creating opportunities for both
the people of Luangwa and their trading partners to meet their basic needs.
Electricity therefore serves as a powerful input for productive activities,
where it allows large production gains. Not only does electricity provide the
best way to mechanize craftsmanship and agricultural production but also
provides motive power for pumping engines for access to clean water, for
grain milling, for irrigation and agricultural productivity. The productivity
gains are due for a large part to the ability to use electrical machinery, to a
lesser extend due to better lighting, heating and air conditioning. This will
not only replace human or animal labour but will also create opportunities
for the people of Luangwa to meet their needs through income generation.
45
The advent of reliable and affordable electricity in the district can also
attract new investments. The dry humid climate of the area is favourable
for growing cotton. With the provision of electricity, the creation of a
cotton industry might be possible since it would be easy to install a cotton
ginnery (processing plant). The area is also a very good tourist site. The
relief of the area presents a picturesque landscape with hills and mountains
and the area also hosts a natural game reserve (Luangwa south national
park). These and other tourist attractions pull in a limited number of tourists
every year. Electricity would help boast the tourist industry as it will
support the construction of chalets and other facilities to attract tourists.
Employment opportunities can result from the enhanced economic
activities as a result of electricity provision on the one hand, but are also
likely to occur due to manufacturing and maintenance processes related to
the application of sustainable electricity technology in the district.
Development of electricity systems requires investment in plants,
equipment, and electrical system infrastructure. Local dealers and
technicians can be employed in the selling and serving of electricity. This
would create employment for many people in the district especially the
youths thereby reducing the high rate of rural exodus.
7.2 Socio-political Benefits
The production and use of energy; in particular electricity is closely related
to a wide range of social issues including poverty alleviation, education,
population growth, health and employment. The current ways in which
electricity is generated and used in Luangwa and many other areas in
developing countries contributes to poverty, poor health, under education,
unemployment, high population growth and lack of opportunities for
women. Transitioning towards any of the sustainable electricity energy
technologies indicated in this study would bring in benefits to the society at
large in terms of long-run increases in education levels, public health and
labour productivity closely coupled with income increases. These would
create opportunities for the people of Luangwa district to meet some of the
basic human needs highlighted in chapter 3 of this report.
As mentioned in chapter 3, a majority of the inhabitants of Luangwa cannot
afford electricity due to their low income levels. Consequently, they rely on
fire wood and charcoal for cooking and other purposes. This reliance on
traditional sources of energy poses serious threats on human health and the
46
ecosystem at every level and tends to keep the population impoverished.
More so, the task of collecting fire wood and charcoal lies mainly on
women and children who are much exposed to the health hazards. Not only
do women not benefit from the contribution of basic electricity appliances
for accomplishing day-to-day tasks but also spend a considerable amount of
time and effort to gather and use traditional biomass energy to meet the
needs of the household. This of course undermines their ability to meet
some of their basic needs.
The use of these traditional sources of energy leads to damaging health
effects either due to the physical injuries resulting from the collection
process or due to indoor smoke pollution resulting from the burning of solid
fuels in poorly ventilated spaces. Consequently, respiratory diseases such as
asthma, tuberculosis as well as cancer blindness and pregnancy side- effects
are common. The World Health Organisation estimates that acute
respiratory diseases resulting from indoor air pollution kill more women
and children than malaria in most rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa [2].
Medical institutions such as the Katondwe Mission hospital and other
health facilities do not function properly due to the erratic supply of
electricity in the area. Provision of clean, efficient and reliable electricity in
the area would help improve general public health, especially the health of
women and children by reducing the need for tedious human labour,
improving indoor and outdoor air quality and providing lighting and motive
power to basic health facilities. Electricity can also support the pumping,
purification and supply of clean, abundant clear water for household use in
the area. This would enable people to meet their basic need of protection.
The inordinate amount of time spent by women and children in gathering
traditional biomass does not only expose them to serious health hazards but
also reduces opportunities for education or engaging into more productive
income generating activities. Children especially girls are deprived of the
opportunity to education as they are required to assist their mothers in
carrying out the daily survival activities such as gathering firewood,
fetching water, gardening, stock herding and cooking. In addition,
educational establishments such as Luangwa High School are not
adequately serviced with electricity due to frequent blackouts. This greatly
hampers academic activities as most of these schools do not only need
lighting but also use equipment that solely depend on electrical power to
function properly. Provision of reliable and accessible electricity in the
district would therefore enhance educational opportunities by diminishing
47
the need for child labour and providing electricity for lighting and other
services to educational institutions. Lighting for instance allows for evening
classes in schools and also permits home study. This of course would
enable the people of Luangwa especially children to meet their need of
understanding.
In Luangwa like in many other rural areas in developing countries,
migration from rural to urban areas is creating tremendous social and
ecological problems. People, especially the youths tend to move to the city
for jobs and to gain access to other modern amenities. But urban
infrastructure often has not kept pace with the burgeoning population
growth in the cities. While it is unlikely that electricity alone will stem the
tide of rural to urban migration, it is possible that the provision of
sustainable electricity in the area can help by improving the quality of life
there through supporting economic activities that would create employment
opportunities. This would lead to income generation thereby making it
possible for people to meet their needs.
Although it is generally accepted that population growth tends to increase
energy demand, it is less widely understood that the availability of adequate
energy services can lower birth rates. Adequate energy services can shift
the relative benefits and costs of fertility towards a lower number of desired
births in a family. An acceleration of the demographic transition to low
mortality and low fertility in developing countries depends on crucial
developmental tasks, including improving the local environment, educating
women, and ameliorating the extreme poverty that make child labour a
necessity. All these tasks will require low-cost energy [1]. If the above
statement is anything to go by, then providing affordable electricity to
Luangwa district would help to lower population growth by improving
education levels and reducing the need for child labour as well as providing
better opportunities for women. A low population growth would also
reduce the already substantial pressure on natural resources thereby
contributing to ecosystem balance.
Access to electricity can be a vital entry point or lever for improving the
position of women in the household and society in rural communities in
developing countries. The lack of affordable electricity in Luangwa as in
other rural areas seriously constraints the options and opportunities
available to women as many women spend all their days and a good part of
their nights meeting basic household survival needs. Enhancing their access
48
to affordable and clean electricity could go a long way towards reducing the
drudgery they face, and allow them to use their time and energy for other
purposes. This could lead to improve health, education, nutrition, and
economic status, not only for women but for their families as well. These
would enable women to meet some of their basic needs like protection,
understanding and participation.
7.3 Local Environmental Impacts
The environmental degradation associated with the production and
consumption of energy today, particular fossil fuels, threatens human health
and quality of life, and affects ecological balance and biodiversity [1]. A
majority of the population of Luangwa district lack access to electricity and
so depend on traditional biomass and other sources of energy such as
kerosene, candles and dry-cell batteries for lighting, cooking, heating and
other purposes. These energy sources are linked to a host of environmental
hazards including air pollution and biodiversity loss due to deforestation
and soil erosion resulting from wanton felling of trees for firewood and
charcoal. More so, the current service provider (ZESCO) is operating three
outdated diesel driven generators which emit substantial amounts of carbon
dioxide and other toxic substances to the atmosphere. This coupled with the
use of capacitors and transmitters containing PCBs that are not adequately
disposed contribute to environmental hazards of local, regional and global
magnitude. These do not only violate the first three ecological principles for
sustainability but also undermines people’s ability to meet their needs by
threatening human health and destroying the ecosystem on which people
depend on.
Transitioning to a clean, efficient and affordable electricity technology
would help encourage environmental sustainability in the area by
decreasing local pollution and reducing the need to cut down trees for fuel
thus promoting ecosystem balance. Reliable and affordable electricity
provision can substitute the use of unsustainable biomass and contribute to
the maintenance of ecosystem health. This transition can also encourage the
establishment of reforestation schemes. The use of cleaner and more
efficient electrical energy can also reduce the emission of green house gases
such as carbon dioxide thereby curbing air pollution. The contribution of
reliable electricity to agricultural productivity through irrigation could
reduce the need to expand the quantity of land under cultivation thereby
reducing the pressure on ecosystem conversion.
49
The manner in which energy is produced and used is therefore essential to
sustainable development as it is related to a wide range social, economic
and environmental issues that influence the ways through which people
meet their needs. Transitioning towards sustainable electricity generation
and supply in rural areas like Luangwa would accelerate sustainable rural
development in developing countries as it will have a synergistic effect on
an array of social, economic and environmental issues. Clean and
affordable electricity supports the provision of basic services such as
cooked food, a comfortable living temperature, lighting, the use of
appliances, piped water, and essential health care, educational aids and
communication. These services are related to the satisfiers of some of the
basic human needs highlighted in chapter 3. Sustainable electricity would
also reduce ecosystem degradation and promote ecological sustainability.
50
8 Implementation
It is not practical that the transition towards sustainable rural electrification
in Luangwa or anywhere else can be done over night. A lot of issues such
as the barriers we discussed in chapter 6 and many others would have to be
addressed before the transition is feasible.
While the experts in the field and policy makers are still trying to decide on
which electricity source to pursue in Luangwa having in mind the two we
identified as appropriate in chapter 5 and while other logistics being put in
place, small steps which could have great potential towards sustainable
rural electrification could be taken in the meantime.
We propose that the Zambian government through the Ministry of Energy
and Water Development could perhaps set up a strategic implementation
plan in which the proposed actions listed below could be addressed:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
Replace old engines with newer ones.
Substitution of conventional diesel with bio-diesel by ZESCO in
Luangwa district.
ZESCO to put proper toxic waste facilities at Luangwa power
plant.
Refurbish power house in Luangwa district.
Connect Katondwe Mission Hospital to the mini grid in
Luangwa district.
Reinforce standardization adherence.
Reinforce regulations on deforestation and promote
reforestation.
Initiate public hearings.
Come up with tariff adjustment measures.
Carry out more feasibility studies and avail information to the
public and service providers.
Seek funding initiatives.
Set up capacity building projects.
Create investment incentives.
It is worth mentioning that we are not the experts in this field and so the
above proposed actions are based on our research findings and the current
reality in Luangwa district. However, the experts in the field could still
51
include more implementation measures which they may find important to
our current list of actions.
We feel that the strategic implementation plan could further be divided into
short term and mid to long term action:
a) Short term actions: These are actions that could be dealt with
immediately, perhaps within a time frame of one to two years.
b) Mid to long term actions: These are actions that could be dealt
within two to five years.
Since this research and the proposed generic model for transitioning
towards sustainable rural electrification is based on The Natural Step
framework, the strategic implementation plan would seek to answer the
three questions listed below:
a) will this action be in the right direction, in this case towards the
vision of generic sustainable rural electrification?
b) is the action a flexible platform? This question explores whether or
not the measure that we have taken can further be developed
without any technical hindrances, and,
c) finally, is the action a good return on investment?
8.1 Short term actions
We have presented in detail below measures from our actions list that the
Ministry of Energy and Water Development could address almost
immediately.
Since the current diesel engines ZESCO is using to generate electricity in
the district are old and unreliable due to constant break downs, the company
could replace them with modern and more efficient ones.
In order to reduce its contribution to the emission of carbon dioxide and
toxic emissions coming from the diesel engines and to systematically
reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, ZESCO could perhaps replace the
current diesel engines sets with modern diesel engines which are more
efficient and have less toxic emission levels. The company could also
52
decide to substitute 10 the use of diesel fossil fuel with bio-fuel 11 , bio-diesel
in particular. The major advantage of using bio-fuels is that it will not add
new carbon to the atmosphere. By doing that ZESCO would be moving
towards the elimination of its contribution to systematic increase in
concentrations of substances from the earth’s crust.
Government through the Ministry of Energy and Water Development in
conjunction with Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources could
also direct ZESCO to ensure that toxic wastes such as material containing
PCB’S, cleaning material and other spillages do not end up as landfill by
ensuring that proper disposal facilities are put in place.
The current ZESCO power house in Luangwa district is not well ventilated
thereby exposing the Plant Operators to excessive heat. The company could
refurbish the power house and improve ventilation. A good tool that the
company could engage in the refurbishment of the power house would be
“The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 12 ”
We mentioned in the fore going that Katondwe Mission Hospital in
Luangwa District is neither connected to the national grid nor to the
Luangwa district mini grid but that it relies on a diesel generator for limited
hours a day and ineffective solar panels for its power supply. As a result the
hospital has not been able to operate efficiently thus systematically
contributing to the undermining of people meeting their needs. In
attempting to address this issue, the current electricity service supplier in
Luangwa district could be directed to connect the hospital to the mini grid.
Government could direct the Zambia Beau of Standards (ZBS) to tighten
and reinforce its standardization policy. We identified earlier on that the
issue of quality was a barrier towards successful sustainable rural
electrification and even gave an example of the situation at Katondwe
Mission Hospital where the solar panels at times fail to store enough
energy. ZBS could place great emphasis that renewable energy products
that are brought in the country are manufactured and supplied by ISO 13
certified manufacturers.
10
Refers to changing to new types of material, flows, management routines etc
It is any substitute fuel made from renewable, non-fossil, organic materials
12
LEED is a tool for Green Building Standards
13
ISO refers to International Standards Organisation.
11
53
As Lubunda Mambwe [20] rightly points out, deforestation is not addressed
as a serious environmental hazard by both the Zambia government and the
general public who are the custodian of the land. There is need that this
attitude changes. The Ministry of Energy and Water Development again in
conjunction with Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources could
reinforce regulations on deforestation. We are not proposing to totally stop
the people of Luangwa from cutting down of trees for firewood and
charcoal burning but it is the excessive habitual tendency we are against.
We pointed out in the foregoing that Luangwa district receives minimal
rainfall and that the district is already threatened with deforestation, it is
cardinal that these regulations are reinforced so that nature is allowed to
replenish itself and save the district from deforestation.
At the end of the day the people of Luangwa district are going to be the end
users of whatever electricity generation source that will be adopted in the
district. It is therefore vital that the people of Luangwa district are involved
in the transition process. This could be done by the Ministry of Energy and
Water Development initiating public hearings in which the people could be
accorded the chance to air out their views. Inviting people to co-create in
matters pertaining to the transition process could encourage attitude change
and the idea of working towards a common goal.
8.2 Mid-Long term actions
In an attempt to increase access to electricity to the people of Luangwa
district government could put electricity tariff adjustment measures in
place. It is not that the people of Luangwa district are not interested in
electricity, they simply can not afford the current electricity tariffs. As we
earlier on stated, the majority of the people in the district earn little income
and so to them electricity, though a necessity, may seem as a luxury.
Government could consider putting in place subsidies.
As part of mid-long term actions, the Ministry of Energy and Water
Development could spearhead the carrying out of more feasibility studies
on renewable energy technologies in countries where these technologies
have been implemented. The findings and other relevant data of these
feasibility studies ought to be made available to the service providers and to
the public.
54
In chapter 6, funding was identified as one of the major barrier towards the
transition to sustainable rural electrification in developing countries. As
part of the long term goals, government could seek funding options for the
transition, we identified setting up of revolving funds earlier as one way of
overcoming this barrier. Government could also carry out surveys on how
countries that have succeeded in the transition dealt with the issue of
funding. Adequate funding is cardinal for successful transition towards
sustainable rural electrification and so it is vital that the government
identifies and pursues long term funding initiatives.
As part of the mid-long term actions, we propose that the government sets
up capacity building projects. The projects could be designed to address the
general public (end user) and they could also be designed to address the
service providers. End user information on renewable electricity
technologies could be passed on through outreach or awareness campaigns.
Service providers could also be encouraged send employees for training
programs on renewable electricity technologies. In order to ensure that
training is successful, training centres could be constructed. An emphasis
on the recruitment of appropriate experts in the field as resource staff in
these centres would also have to be placed. Again consultations would
have to be made with counterparts that have already engaged in these
projects.
Finally in order to encourage the current service provider and the potential
service providers to pursue renewable electricity energy technologies,
government could set up investment incentives. Government could identify
a number of incentives that could have more attractive benefits than
conventional electricity sources. Good examples of investment incentive
could be the suspending of import duty on renewable energy goods, low
service tax and many others that we identified in chapter 6.
55
9 Conclusion
9.1 Findings
We established that the majority of the people without access to electricity
in the world are found mainly in rural areas of developing countries.
Consequently, they rely on traditional biomass and other sources of energy
which are associated with several ecological, social and economic
problems. The study revealed that with a well structured vision of a
sustainable rural electrification, it is possible to strategically implement
existing technologies based on renewable energy sources. The type of
renewable technology to be implemented however amongst other aspects
depends on the geographical aspects of the region. For instance, biomass
technology was found to be inappropriate for Luangwa district but could
represent an ideal electricity technology for Mwinilunga district. This is
because, unlike Luangwa, Mwinilunga is endowed with abundant vegetal
matter (biomass) that could support the technology due to the favourable
climatic situation of the region.
The team further identified some potential barriers towards the transition to
these sustainable electricity technologies with an emphasis on the study
area. Some of the barriers relate to human behaviour such as political
hindrance and general public apathy. Other barriers are due to flaws in the
ways markets operate, e.g., pricing and tax obstacles. Some are technical in
nature while others relate to public policies and institutions, e.g., the lack of
attractive financing. We also established that it is possible to overcome
many of these barriers through enlightened public policy-policies that
eliminate price subsidies, make electricity energy technologies readily
available, improve the performance of these technologies, educate and train
consumers and provide convenient financing. Financial incentives and
regulations can also overcome some of these barriers.
Finally, transitioning to these sustainable electricity technologies could help
accelerate strategic progress towards sustainable rural communities in
developing countries. We identified and examined some short and medium
term socio-political, economic and environmental benefits of this transition
and explained how they could enable people to meet their needs with a
particular focus on Luangwa district. We concluded that implementing
sustainable electricity technologies could advance the goal for sustainable
56
rural development through the reduction of arduous human labour; the
transformation of cooking and other household activities, the provision of
safe water for domestic requirements, the electrification of all homes, the
provision of energy for income generating activities etc that would create
opportunities for people to meet their basic needs while maintaining a
healthy environment.
9.2 Limitations
Firstly, the team could not make the initially planned site visit to the study
area due to difficulties in securing the requisite finances. Consequently, the
data collection process was limited to review of relevant literature and
responses from a survey conducted using a randomly selected group of
people who are conversant with the current reality in the area. We therefore
acknowledge the fact that some of the data may not have been accurate. We
were equally limited by the late responses from some of our respondents.
Repeated analysis had to be performed because some of the responses came
in when the team had already commenced or concluded the analysis. In
addition, attempts to get some relevant information from the public offices
such as the Central Statistics of Zambia were futile due to some
administrative red tapes, while there was no response from others such as
the Meteorological Department. We were also limited by the fact that we
lack expertise on some of the key issues of the studies especially those
related to the technicalities of implementing the renewable electricity
technologies.
9.3 Recommendations
We recommend that governments in developing countries should place
more emphasis on rural electrification and play the leading role in
facilitating the smooth and strategic transition to sustainable technologies of
electricity. In order for the transition to be successful, experts should carry
out more feasibility studies on the existing renewable electricity
technologies as well as the current reality in the rural areas in developing
countries.
We also recommend a strategic implementation approach with all the stake
holders, i.e., governments, rural communities and service providers having
a shared and well structured vision for sustainable rural electrification.
57
10 References
1.
United Nations Development Program, 2002.
Sustainable Development: A Policy Agenda. UNDP
2.
Electricitè de France, 2002. Electricity for all: Targets, timetables
and instruments. EDF/DPRI
3.
Holmberg J, Robèrt K-H, 2000. Backcasting-a framework for
strategic planning. International Journal of Sustainable
Development and World Ecology; 7 (4): 291-308.
4.
Broman G, Holmberg J, and Robèrt K-H, 2000. Simplicity Without
Reduction-Thinking Upstream Towards the Sustainable Society,
International Journal of the Institute of Management Sciences and
the Operational Research Society of America; 30 (3).
5.
United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, 2003.
Renewable Energy based Electricity generation for isolated minigrids in Zambia. Accessed on 21 January 2005 from,
www.unido.org/en/doc/5256
6.
Central Statistics Office of Zambia, 2003. Accessed on 10 January
2005
Manfred A. Max-Neef, 1991. Human Scale Development: Concept,
Application and Further Reflections. The Apex Press
7.
Energy
for
8.
Zambia Electricity Supply Company, 2002. Accessed on 3
December 2004 and 30 April 2005 from www.zesco.co.zm
9.
Nelson Manda, 2004. Planning and Management for PCBs.
Accessed on 10 December 2004 from,
www.chem.unep.ch/pops/pcb_activities/PCB_proceeding/Presentati
ons/Nelson%20Manda%20(ECZ).pdf
10.
The European Renewable Energy Centres Agency, 2003. Use of
Renewable Energy. Accessed on 20 March 2005 from
www.eurec.be
58
11.
International Energy Agency, 2002. The definition of Renewable
Energy.
Accessed
on
22
March
2005
from
www.iea.org/stats/files/ren2002.pdf
12.
Solar Electric Power Association, 2005. Accessed on 22 March
2005 from www.solarelectricpower.org
13.
Mirza A, Sinha S and Shuka A, 2000. Sundarbans: From Dhibris to
Solar Photovoltaic. Allied Publishers
14.
United Nations Development Program, United Nations Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, and World Energy Council 2000.
World Energy Assessment. UNDP
15.
The Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), 2005.
Decentralized Rural Electrification: The Critical Success Factors.
Accessed on 23 March 2005 from,
www.itdg.org/docs/energy/Rural%20Electrification.PDF
16.
Power Scored Card, 2000. Rating the Environment Impact of
Electricity Products. Accessed on 2 April 2005 from
www.powerscorecard.org
17.
The Energy and Resources Institute, 2002. Towards sustainable and
sufficient use of world’s natural resources. Accessed from
www.teriin.org on 23 March 2005.
18.
Nutek - Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional, 2003.
Accessed from www.nutek.se on 29 March 2005
19.
Howard Geller, 2004. Energy Revolution – Policies for a
sustainable future. Island Press.
20.
Lubunda Mambwe, 2004. Renewable Energy Training Project
Augmenting Youth Employment - Mexico Summit Report, Accessed
from www.yesweb.org/docs/gef_mexico_forum.pdf on 14 April
2005
Brundtland Commission Report, 1987. Accessed on 26 April 2005
from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brundtland_Report
21.
59
Appendix A: Electrification Survey
Questions for Engineers
Dear Respondent,
We are students at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden pursuing a Masters
Degree program in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability. We are currently
working on our graduating thesis paper under the theme Transitioning towards
sustainable rural electrification in developing countries: case study Zesco in Luangwa
District in Zambia.
We are in the process of collecting relevant data for this research. You have been
selected as a respondent. Please answer the questions below on the spaces provided at
your earliest convenience. Upon completion send this questionnaire back via e-mail to
[email protected]
Section A:
1. When was the diesel power station at Luangwa district built? ……...
2. How many diesel engines do you operate at the power station? ……
3. What is the brand name of these engines? …………………………..
4. What is the year of manufacture of these engines? …………………
5. When were they purchased? ...............................................................
6. What is the country of manufacture? ..................................................
7. How long have these engines been operating at Luangwa district?
8. How often do you service them? ……………………………………
9. Are replacement parts easily available? ..............................................
10. How many times have these engines been overhauled? …………….
11. Do you have plans to replace them with more efficient engines? If
“YES” when do you hope to do it? .....................................................
12. How many (average) litres of diesel do you spend per month? ..........
13. Do you think that the consumption of diesel would have been less if
you were using modern engines? ........................................................
14. What products do you use to clean inside and the surroundings of
the power station? ...............................................................................
15. How do you dispose off used engine oil and other waste products? ..
60
Section B:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
How many Plant Operators are stationed at the power station? .........
Are they adequate? ..............................................................................
What protective attire are the Plant operators entitled to? ..................
Does the company ensure that they are provided with protective
wear? ...................................................................................................
Does management see to it that the protective attires are worn
during working? ..................................................................................
Are there any incentives given to employees working in such a
remote area? ........................................................................................
If the answer to the above is “YES”, what incentives are the
employees entitled to? ........................................................................
What is the total number of permanent employees stationed at
Luangwa district? ……………………………………………………
Section C:
1. What is the customer base of Zesco at Luangwa district? ..................
2. Are people at Luangwa district generally able to afford the
electricity tariffs? ................................................................................
3. What are the main uses of electricity at Luangwa district? ................
4. Do you think the current electricity supply at Luangwa district
adequately meets the needs of the people? .........................................
5. If the answer to the above is “NO” please give reason (s)…………..
6. Apart from Diesel engines and Hydro sources of electricity, what
other sources of electricity do you think would be appropriate for
Luangwa district? ................................................................................
7. Give reasons why you think these other sources are appropriate for
Luangwa district……………………………………………………..
8. What do you think are some of the obstacles to moving to these
different sources? ……………………………………………………
61
Questions to Public
Dear Respondent,
We are students at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden pursuing a Masters
Degree program in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. We are currently
working on our graduating thesis paper under the theme Transitioning towards
sustainable rural electrification in developing countries: case study Zesco in Luangwa
District in Zambia.
We are in the process of collecting relevant data for this research. You have been
selected as a respondent. Please answer the questions below on the spaces provided at
your earliest convenience. Upon completion send this questionnaire back via e-mail to
[email protected]
Section A: Details of respondent.
Designation ……………………………………………………………….
Nationality…………………………………………………………………
Gender……………………………………………………………………..
Age (optional)……………………………………………………………..
Section B:
1. What is the core business of the Zambia Electricity Supply
Company (ZESCO)? ………………………………………………...
2. What are the sources used to generate electricity by Zesco? ………..
3. Do you know the sources used to generate electricity in the
Luangwa district? ……………………………………………………
4. If the answer to the above is “YES”, state the sources………………
5. Do you think this source is reliable and safe? ..……………………..
6. What are the main uses of electricity in Zambia? ...............................
7. What do you think are the main uses of electricity in the Luangwa
district? ………………………………………………………………
8. What are the main economic activities for the people living in the
Luangwa district? ……………………………………………………
9. Do you think the people of Luangwa earn enough income to afford
the ZESCO electricity tariffs? ……………………………………….
10. Given another source of electricity, do you think the economic
activities of Luangwa would improve? ……………………………...
62
11. Apart from Diesel engines and Hydro sources of electricity, what
other sources do you think would appropriate for Luangwa district?
………………………………………………………………………
12. Do you think the social institutions such as Katondwe Mission
Hospital and Luangwa High School are adequately being serviced
by the current electricity source in Luangwa district?.........................
13. Do you think operating diesel generators 24 hours a day is
environmentally friendly? …………………………………………..
14. If the answer to the above is “NO”, give your reason (s) …………...
63
Appendix B: Map of Zambia showing Luangwa
District
64
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