The Economics of Renewable Energy Expansion in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa

69 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Uwe Deichmann

Uwe Deichmann

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Craig M. Meisner

The World Bank; The World Bank

Siobhan Murray

World Bank

David Wheeler

World Bank - Policy Research Department

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

Accelerating development in Sub-Saharan Africa will require massive expansion of access to electricity -- currently reaching only about one-third of households. This paper explores how essential economic development might be reconciled with the need to keep carbon emissions in check. The authors develop a geographically explicit framework and use spatial modeling and cost estimates from recent engineering studies to determine where stand-alone renewable energy generation is a cost effective alternative to centralized grid supply. The results suggest that decentralized renewable energy will likely play an important role in expanding rural energy access. But it will be the lowest cost option for a minority of households in Africa, even when likely cost reductions over the next 20 years are considered. Decentralized renewables are competitive mostly in remote and rural areas, while grid connected supply dominates denser areas where the majority of households reside. These findings underscore the need to de-carbonize the fuel mix for centralized power generation as it expands in Africa.

Keywords: Energy Production and Transportation, Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases, Transport Economics Policy & Planning, Power & Energy Conversion, Carbon Policy and Trading

Suggested Citation

Deichmann, Uwe and Meisner, Craig M. and Murray, Siobhan and Wheeler, David, The Economics of Renewable Energy Expansion in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa (January 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5193. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1547632

Uwe Deichmann (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Craig M. Meisner

The World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street
Washington, DC 20433
United States

The World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street N.W
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Siobhan Murray

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

David Wheeler

World Bank - Policy Research Department ( email )

1818 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/dwheeler

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