|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|
Falling costs are continuing to increase the variety of affordable sustainable energy systems. Indeed, the huge potential for technology development is a key reason why a sustainable energy future should be achievable. Research and development on advanced energy technologies (fuel cells, high-efficiency biomass gasifiers and gas turbines, solar-hydrogen systems, etc.) should, in general, be left to the industrialised countries. But there is a huge scope and need for technology adaptation to meet local conditions by making them more robust, reliable, low cost.
Box 9. Petroleum Taxes Help to Finance Sustainable Energy Projects in Ghana
Since the mid-1980s the Government of Ghana has financed sustainable energy projects using small levies on petroleum products. The levy, which used to be only 0.3% of the pump prices for petrol and diesel fuel and slightly less for kerosene, is now set at one Ghana Cedi per litre (about US$0.04 per 100 litres). With a current petroleum product consumption of about one million tonnes, over US$400,000 is raised annually. These sums are paid into an Energy Fund and used to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
"There is huge scope and need for technology adaptation to meet local conditions by making them more robust, reliable, low cost, etc."
Cookstoves provide a classic example. One of the most successful of all improved charcoal stoves, the Kenyan ceramic-lined jiko, was adapted from the Thai Bucket Stove and was further adapted into the diambar stove of Senegal. Many improved stove projects have been started in the region with high hopes and substantial funding, however, only to stagnate or collapse after a few years. On the other hand, large markets have been developed in Sub-Saharan Africa for stoves that give fuel and financial savings of the order of 40%. The key to success is persistence and a sound approach, including careful market assessment, product design, production testing, market trials, and help with commercialisation. A recent outstanding example of successful cookstove development is outlined in Box 10.
Technical assistance is still needed in many locations on these design, production, marketing, and commercialisation processes, especially for more efficient and smokeless stoves, improved charcoal conversion techniques, and solar water heaters. The emphasis should be on building up know-how and capacities for local manufacture and marketing of the technologies.
Key areas where regionally specific research, development, and dissemination on REEF systems is needed include:
· Research on medium-scale renewable energy options, including wind farms, mini-hydro, and power generation from urban refuse incineration and gasification, and from biomass residues. Little has been done in the SSA region to explore these options, although they should be cost effective in some locations for supplying power to national/regional grids and isolated mini-grids. Demonstrations are required to test the technologies, their costs, and viable institutional support systems under real-life conditions.
· Research on small (village-scale) biomass-based power generation in rural areas. India has much relevant experience, especially with biogas and gasifiers feeding internal combustion engines, that needs to be adapted and evaluated under African conditions.
· Studies on biomass energy crops deserve particular priority. Tree, grass, and other crops are widely thought to have a huge world-wide potential to provide electricity or liquid fuels. Compared with Asia and Latin America, little has been done to explore their potential in Africa. A range of systems needs to be tested thoroughly, as a matter of urgency, under a range of African conditions. Some of these conditions, including rural labour shortages and highly variable rainfall patterns, may pose severe difficulties for applying these options in Africa.
· Demonstration projects applying hybrid energy systems. By combining intermittent renewable sources (solar, wind) with firm energy supplies (diesel, gas, hydro, and biomass), reliable and economic hybrid systems could greatly expand decentralised renewable energy take-up via village and town mini-grids.
· Demonstration projects to test methods of providing low-cost, multiple, modern energy services, such as motor-power, pumping, and refrigeration, as well as the usual lighting services. Examples include solar and/or diesel micro-grids, clusters of solar battery charging stations, and the village energy centres described in the Mali country study.
· Research, development, and dissemination, followed by implementation of the many technical and societal means of reducing electricity transmission, distribution, wiring, and metering costs. When applied together with energy efficiency measures, these can reduce the costs of providing energy services by 50% or more, and can tip the balance between the economics of grid extension versus decentralised options.
"Technical assistance is still needed in many locations on these design, production, marketing, and commercialisation processes, especially for more efficient and smokeless stoves, improved charcoal conversion techniques, and solar water heaters."
Box 10. Cookstove Design and Marketing in Ethiopia
The British NGO Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) is financing and supporting a team of Ethiopian professionals working in household energy management and supply. It has achieved remarkable success in developing and commercialising two types of improved biomass cookstoves through an iterative approach of needs assessment, design, product trials, redesign, and performance monitoring. The team works with households, stove producers, installers, and merchants and pays attention to promotion, technical assistance, quality control, and to the provision of business, management, and marketing skills to producers.
The first great success was the Lakech metal and ceramic charcoal stove. Introduced commercially in early 1992, over 600,000 had been sold in Addis Ababa by mid-1998 (ESD, 1998). The second success has been the Mirte biomass stove for baking the cereal-based staple injera, an activity which accounts for 50% of Ethiopias primary energy consumption and over 75% of all household energy use. A typical twice-weekly injera baking session consumes 10kg of woody biomass. The Mirte, introduced in 1994, uses only 50-60% as much fuel as traditional methods (saving about half a tonne of fuel per stove annually), reduces smoke, cuts the risk of burns, and is regarded as "modern". With these advantages, sales across the country totalled 54,000 by mid-1998 and are expected to reach 100,000 by the end of 1999 and 500,000 a year later.