Smart and Just Grids for sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring options

Welsch, M., Bazilian, M., Howells, M., Divan, D., Elzinga, D., Strbac, G., Jones, L., Keane, A., et al. (2013). Smart and Just Grids for sub-Saharan Africa: Exploring options. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 336-352. 10.1016/j.rser.2012.11.004.

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In 2009, an estimated 585 million people had no access to electricity services in sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike many other regions of the world, under current assumptions, that figure is expected to rise significantly to about 652 million by 2030-an unsustainable and unacceptable situation. Knowing of the intrinsic linkages between access to energy services and development, national governments and regional organisations have identified the urgent need for accelerated electrification rates. Some of the established and emerging concepts, systems and technologies grouped under the term 'Smart Grids' may offer an important contribution to achieving universal access to electricity.

We argue that these Smart Grid advances may enable sub-Saharan African countries to leapfrog elements of traditional power systems and accelerate and improve electrification efforts. We introduce the notion of Just Grids to reflect the need for power systems to contribute towards equitable and inclusive economic and social development without marginalising the poor. The paper reviews the literature, and identifies specific options that could be implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. After selecting criteria that focus on potential impact as well as requirements for their implementation, a qualitative first-pass assessment of the potential of these options is made. This paper provides support for policy development, and suggests areas for further, more detailed research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smart Grids; Sub-Saharan Africa; Energy access; Energy planning
Research Programs: Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Bibliographic Reference: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews; 20:336-352 (April 2013) (Published online 8 January 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:49
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:39

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