|Energy as a Tool for Sustainable Development for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (EC - UNDP, 1999, 89 p.)|
|CHAPTER 2: THE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA REGION|
ENERGY SECTOR REFORM/REGULATORY AND LEGAL FRAMEWORKS
Apart from advancing energy sector reform generally, with its main emphasis on conventional energy, policy dialogue and technical assistance are needed to:
· Develop clear social and environmental goals for the energy sector, including implementation targets for renewables.
· Include measures which help to promote sustainable energy in regulatory and legal structures for energy sector reform, and remove outdated and constraining legislation.
· Start or accelerate land reform that ensures appropriate level of ownership and responsibility of state forests and woodlands. Back-up reform with studies and projects to establish sustainable forest harvesting and rural wood markets.
· Promote REEF market interests (within the sector reform process) through seminars and study tours, etc., which help capture international experience and good practice.
ENERGY PRICES AND ECONOMIC INCENTIVES
REEF systems cannot compete in open markets as long as the playing-field is tilted to favour conventional energy resources. The playing-field must be levelled to:
· Get prices right (review and reduce perverse subsides, establish and maintain marginal cost pricing for fuels and electricity, implement measures where necessary to protect the poor).
· Remove customs duties and other taxes which discriminate against REEF equipment.
· Review and implement fiscal measures which favour REEF market development (levies on fossil fuels, grants, tax breaks, business guarantees, etc.).
· Learn, by funding/conducting regional (and worldwide) reviews of actual and good practices on energy prices, taxes, and incentive schemes and their impacts on REEF adoption.
REEF MARKET DEVELOPMENT
Given the barriers discussed above to the kind of small-scale dispersed enterprise that is inherent to REEF systems, extra transitional nudges are needed to stimulate REEF markets. Such nudges can and should come in a variety of forms to:
· Develop and extend innovative approaches to build up sustainable structures and financing methods for delivering REEF systems. Possibilities include public-private sector joint ventures, energy service companies, and community cooperatives.
· Bundle or cluster development projects to reduce costs and extend outreach. Bundling can include melding projects supported by different cooperation agencies.
· Provide technical and business management training for REEF system producers, distributors, and service technicians.
· Establish effective demonstrations of good-practice technologies and delivery systems. These can be financially self-supporting.
· Initiate or support promotional campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency and renewables aimed at all potential markets (from the formal business and financial sectors to households and other small-scale users).
· Develop and disseminate good quality information about alternative energy options for health, education, agriculture, water, and other development sectors. Electronic or other data centres should be considered.
· Require comparisons of conventional and alternative energy options in all development projects (health, education, water supply, etc.).
· Provide good quality technical assistance on the design, production, and commercialisation of important small scale REEF technologies which have lost their appeal to some development cooperation agencies; notably improved cookstoves and charcoal conversion techniques, and solar water heaters.
· Develop energy efficiency performance standards, building codes, etc.
RESOURCE AND MARKET ASSESSMENTS
Although the following may appear obvious, assumptions are rampant and knowledge is limited regarding both the potential supply and the market demand sides of the energy equation in Sub-Saharan Africa. A range of surveys and assessments are needed to address this problem. The following are examples of categories of studies that should be given priority:
· Surveys of renewable energy resources (e.g. wind, solar, hydro, biomass residues), including regular inventories of all types of woody biomass, standing stocks, and productivity. The latter are essential for the sound planning of traditional fuel use and assessments of the potential for tree-based energy crops.
· Studies on potentials and socio-economics of biomass-energy crop production and conversion to modern fuels (e.g. methanol, ethanol, and electricity). Studies and demonstrations under a range of African conditions are urgently needed.
· Surveys of rural and peri-urban areas to reveal patterns of energy supply and use, energy prices and ability/willingness-to-pay, and potential demand for REEF (and other) means of increasing modern energy services.
· Market assessments of potentials and economics of all major RET systems on different scales (e.g. medium-size grid-connected, mini-grids, small-scale systems).
· Market assessments and audits, etc. amongst key energy-use sectors of potentials and economics of energy efficiency.
· Regional re-appraisal of the potential to develop large-scale hydropower in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND DEMONSTRATION
With the repeated caveat that developing countries should not be viewed as a testing ground for new technologies, Research, Development, and Demonstration (R, D & D) is needed to test and adapt REEF technologies and systems in the African context. This work should emphasise the social, in addition to technical, aspects associated with developing REEF-based energy systems.
· Demonstration projects are urgently needed to test the economics and institutional support requirements under a range of African conditions of medium-scale RETs such as wind farms, mini-hydro, and power generation from biomass residues and urban wastes.
· R, D & D on hybrid energy systems which back-up intermittent renewables (solar, wind) with "firm" energy supplies (diesel, gas, hydro, biomass).
· R, D & D on low-cost, small-scale methods of providing a range of energy services (shaft power, pumping, battery charging, lighting, etc.) such as village energy centres.
· R, D & D on technical and institutional methods for reducing electricity delivery and billing costs.
· Energy equipment standards (quality, efficiency, and compatibility) should be harmonised in the region, and regional testing and monitoring systems should be established. Equipment producers and suppliers should be encouraged to give guarantees.
Strong institutions are the backbone of an efficient and effective energy sector. The countries of Sub-Saharan Africa face enormous challenges in creating appropriate policy, legal, fiscal, and administrative frameworks to mobilise and unlock the potential of their energy sectors to contribute to development. This is a key area where development assistance is needed to support and encourage the efforts of national governments.
· Increase and sustain commitments to build up trained and experienced staff in national energy institutions and other public bodies; regional political and energy institutions; and at provincial, district, and local levels.
· Establish and support independent energy analysis and capacity building/training centres that provide support for local governments and other institutions.
· Support national and regional networks of sustainable energy expertise.
Unless this fundamental problem is tackled systematically there will be little chance of implementing sustainable energy policies and programmes in Africa.