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close this bookThe Global Greenhouse Regime. Who Pays? (UNU, 1993, 382 p.)
close this folderPart III National greenhouse gas reduction cost curves
close this folder9 Carbon abatement potential in West Africa
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentLong-term energy and carbon emissions scenarios
View the documentOptions for rational energy use and carbon conservation
View the documentEconomic opportunities for implementation
View the documentPolicy issues for the region
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences

Economic opportunities for implementation

The region's poor economic prospects accentuate the need to take advantage of least cost energy strategies and foreign funds available to support such programmes. The technology choice model used by energy planners should be selected carefully to ensure that the least cost investment strategy that minimizes foreign exchange requirements is selected. It is essential that this model places efficiency improvements at end use on an equal footing with additional supply options. Unfortunately, inadequate information on the region restricts the level of analysis now possible to a largely qualitative exploration of the least cost strategy to provide energy services and conserve carbon. Electricity generation will be singled out here because of its capital intensity and developmental significance.

Electricity generation

The HES and LES scenarios indicate that as countries in the region develop economically, so the ratio of energy to GDP will fall. This outcome is the result of substituting more efficient energy forms for inefficient biomass fuels. In the scenarios, the primary energy per unit GDP declines between the base year and 2025 by 24 per cent (HES) and 38 per cent (LES) in Ghana; 44 per cent (HES) and 56 per cent (LES) in Nigeria; and 34 per cent (HES) and 46 per cent (LES) in Sierra Leone. Also, as Table 9.2 reveals, the primary energy supply more than triples in the HES and falls only by 20 per cent on average in the LES in all the countries. Moreover, the scenarios show that power sector investment grows faster than GDP. This result implies that financial resources will have to be diverted from other non-energy sectors.

The scenarios indicate that electrical supply can be increased by greater energy efficiency at end use and by reducing T&D losses. Nonetheless, a major increase in power generation will be required to meet demand. Hydropower is the most available supply option but also needs the biggest front end investment, much of which is in foreign exchange. Technological maturity makes it difficult to reduce historical costs of hydropower.

The development of large-scale hydropower is necessary in the region.

However, international donors are reluctant to invest in hydropower because of environmental problems associated with large dams. Nonetheless, countries that can obtain the requisite resources may do well to exploit hydropower because of its extensive backwards and forwards developmental linkages.

Natural gas development using combined cycle plants is more attractive as the investment cost is only about US$600lkWe-installed. This option is attractive for Nigeria which has large domestic gas reserves. It remains unclear, however, if its gas-powered electricity can be exported to neighbouring countries at competitive prices. Much will depend on whether local technical inputs are used to minimize the costs of developing this power supply.

Three options should be explored in the region to maximize carbon abatement. First, gas-fuelled combined cycles for electricity generation cost less than oil or coal fuelled plants (which cost US$800-1500/kWe). Also, the gas cycle has a higher thermal efficiency and emits less carbon and almost no sulphur dioxide or particulates. It also takes less time to construct and has lower maintenance requirements, being of modular design.

Second, agricultural wastes should be used as fuel in steam-generating plants and later in large-scale energy applications. These systems are expected to be commercially competitive with conventional systems within a few years. Third, many low cost steps should be taken at many end use sites to improve the overall efficiency of the energy system. This option is important because it requires little or no foreign help.

Carbon conservation in other sectors

This section is necessarily qualitative, as carbon emissions disaggregated by individual abatement measures could not be counted in the scenarios. The results are shown in Table 9.5. The aggregate energy and carbon savings from adopting least cost technologies were evaluated by subtracting the LES from the HES, sector-by-sector.

Residential sector
The residential sector offers great potential for energy and carbon savings. The LES assumed a widespread deployment of improved biofuel stoves and charcoal kilns; improved lighting and electrical appliances; and fuel substitution. Large-scale dissemination of improved woodfuel stoves and charcoal kilos will produce significant energy savings.

Most of the options in this sector do not require much financial investment or intervention by government, as the case of Kenya has illustrated. The primary role of government is to facilitate technological R&D. However, the supporting infrastructure needed for this measure may require foreign assistance.

Table 9.5 Energy and carbon savings (HES - LES)

  PJ saved % total MtC saved % total
GHANA 142 100 1.68 100
Residential 88 62 0.68 41
Industrial 26 18 0.53 32
Transport 14 10 0.28 20
NIGERIA 675 100 13.00 100
Residential 353 52 4.42 34
Industrial 107 16 4.27 33
Transport 207 31 2.86 22
SIERRA LEONE 18 100 0.25 100
Residential 14 78 0.13 51
Industrial 1 5 0.04 15
Transport 3 17 0.07 29
WEST AFRICA(*) 969 100 16.71 100
Residential 517 53 6.45 39
Industrial 156 17 6.15 37
Transport 296 30 4.11 24

*Extrapolated values

Transport sector
In the transport sector, three sets of important measures can produce energy and carbon conservation. These are: improved traffic management and vehicle maintenance; fuel substitution and modal shift; and increased vehicular efficiency.

The first set will give only moderate energy and carbon savings. Conversely, these measures require relatively little investment, and some can be locally financed and managed. The second set involves capital intensive measures such as improved urban transport, ethanol, and more railways. These measures will give substantial carbon savings but need large investments with significant foreign exchange requirements. Third, more efficient vehicles rely largely on foreign technological innovation by car manufacturers. Nonetheless, it is important that governments regulate imports and local assembly of cars to increase vehicular efficiency at low cost.

Industrial sector
Industrial activities promise large carbon reductions. The emerging iron and steel industry in Nigeria, which will draw on raw materials from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, can be built to high standards of energy efficiency and implement standard housekeeping measures to obtain moderate energy and carbon savings at low cost.

Despite the lack of disaggregated data, these options were assessed to give an indicative representation of their cost and emission reduction potential. Table 9.6 summarizes the results.