Expediting transitions in unmet electricity markets : the case of leapfrogging renewable energy in Africa

Batinge, Benjamin (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The importance of access to modern energy, especially electricity, is evident in the quality of service it offers in sectors such as education, health, business, manufacturing, construction, and many other facets of human living. Despite the enormous benefits derived from access to electricity, over one billion people in the world, 588 million of whom are in Africa, still did not have access to electricity as at 2016. The abundant renewable energy resources available in Africa can quickly supply the needed electricity through new technologies. It is therefore essential to consider potentially leapfrogging Africa’s unmet electricity markets from traditional energy to renewable energy, in order to achieve the Sustainable Energy for All goal of universal energy access by 2030. Thus, the overall research question for this study was: how can an energy transition, particularly leapfrogging to renewable energy, accelerate universal access to electricity in Africa? This question was addressed through systematic literature review, which resulted in the development of a modified transition framework that captures the unique characteristics of unmet electricity markets. These characteristics included unmet power market; small-scale; renewable energy; fast transition time; niche opportunities, and multi-dimensional pressures. The study highlights the need for contextual awareness, and socio-cultural and political lock-ins in adopting the energy transition framework for unmet electricity markets. The study also identified key drivers of energy leapfrogging in an African context. They included large unmet electricity market, the urgency for universal energy access, and the availability of renewable energy resources. Three potential leapfrogging paradigms were eventually conceptualised, namely: Revolutionary, Scattered, and Coned leapfrogging. They were defined by the pace and magnitude of transition, and depended on the intensity of the leapfrogging drivers. The study concluded that Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog the fossil-intensive energy regime, to a renewable energy regime. Further, two system dynamics models were developed, namely: the African Electricity Access (AFELA) model, and the Ghana Electricity Access (GELA) model. The AFELA model results showed access to funding for energy infrastructure as a key challenge in Africa, and the reason for its large unmet electricity market. After examining four different scenarios, the Electricity Access Investment Scenario, which entailed an increase in the annual power investment by two per cent of GDP, was found to be most ideal path to close the funding gap and ensure attainment of universal access to electricity in Africa by 2030. Further, the GELA model results indicated that under the existing electricity investment trajectory, Ghana would not achieve its dual energy goal of universal electricity access and 10% renewable energy in the electricity sector energy mix by 2020. In order to accelerate universal access to electricity in Africa, the study recommended regulatory reform to attract investment from private sector, and investment diversification to promote renewable energy leapfrogging.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die belang van toegang tot moderne energie, veral elektrisiteit, is duidelik in die gehalte diens wat dit vir onder meer die onderwys-, gesondheid-, sake-, vervaardiging- en konstruksiesektor, asook vir vele ander fasette van die menslike bestaan bied. Ten spyte van die enorme voordele wat uit toegang tot elektrisiteit verkry word, het meer as een miljard mense wêreldwyd, waarvan 588 miljoen in Afrika, teen 2016 steeds nie toegang tot elektrisiteit gehad nie. Die oorvloedige hernubare energiebronne in Afrika kan egter vinnig die nodige elektrisiteit deur middel van nuwe tegnologie voorsien. Dit is dus noodsaaklik dat daar oorweeg word dat Afrika se onbevredigde elektrisiteitsmarkte spronggewys van tradisionele energie na hernubare energie geneem word, om sodoende die Volhoubare Energie vir Almal-doelwit van universele energietoegang teen 2030 te verwesenlik. Die oorkoepelende navorsingsvraag vir hierdie studie was dus: hoe kan ’n energie-oorgang, veral deur ’n groot sprong na hernubare energie, universele toegang tot elektrisiteit in Afrika versnel? Hierdie vraag is aangepak met behulp van ’n sistematiese literatuuroorsig, wat gelei het tot die ontwikkeling van ’n aangepaste oorgangsraamwerk wat die unieke eienskappe van onbevredigde elektrisiteitsmarkte omvat. Hierdie eienskappe is onder meer die onbevredigde kragmark; klein skale; hernubare energie; vinnige oorgangstyd; nisgeleenthede; en meerdimensionele druk. Die studie beklemtoon die behoefte aan kontekstuele bewustheid, asook sosiokulturele en politieke insluitings ten opsigte van die aanvaarding van die energie-oorgangsraamwerk vir onbevredigde elektrisiteitsmarkte. Die studie identifiseer ook sleuteldrywers vir energiespronge in ’n Afrikakonteks. Dit sluit in ’n groot onbevredigde elektrisiteitsmark, die dringendheid van universele energietoegang, en die beskikbaarheid van hernubare energiebronne. Drie potensiële sprongparadigmas is uiteindelik gekonseptualiseer, naamlik: Revolusionêre, Verspreide, en Gefokusde spronge. Hierdie paradigmas word omskryf aan die hand van die tempo en omvang van die oorgang, en hang af van die intensiteit van die sprongdrywers. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat Afrika die geleentheid het om die fossielintensiewe energie-regime heeltemal oor te slaan en na ’n hernubare energie-regime te versnel. Verder is daar twee stelseldinamika-modelle ontwikkel, naamlik: die AFELA-model (Afrika-elektrisiteitstoegangmodel) en die GELAmodel (Ghana-elektrisiteitstoegangmodel). Die AFELA-modelresultate dui aan dat toegang tot befondsing vir energie-infrastruktuur ’n belangrike uitdaging in Afrika is, en die rede vir die groot onbevredigde elektrisiteitsmark is. Nadat vier verskillende scenario’s ondersoek is, is daar bevind dat die Elektrisiteitstoegang-beleggingscenario, wat ’n toename in die jaarlikse kraginvestering van twee persent van die BBP behels, die mees ideale pad is om die finansieringsgaping te oorbrug en te verseker dat universele toegang tot elektrisiteit in Afrika teen 2030 verkry word. Verder dui die GELA-modelresultate aan dat Ghana volgens die huidige elektrisiteitsbeleggingtrajek nie sy tweeledige energiedoelwit van universele elektrisiteitstoegang en 10% hernubare energie in die elektrisiteitsektor se energiemengsel teen 2020 sal bereik nie. Ten einde die universele toegang tot elektrisiteit in Afrika te versnel, beveel die studie regulatoriese hervorming aan om investering vanuit die privaat sektor te lok, asook beleggingsdiversifikasie ter bevordering van die sprong na hernubare energie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105178
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