Alternative pathways for providing access to electricity in developing countries
2013 (English)In: Renewable Enegy, ISSN 0960-1481, Vol. 57, 299-310 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The discussion on electrification pathways tends to dangle between the merits of centralized on-grid versus decentralized off-grid electrification, and most of the time, both routes are promoted in parallel. However, the basis for choosing pathways has neither been very clear nor rational. This study compares three pathways for rural electrification considering (i) off-grid renewable energy (RE) technologies for individual households (ii) mini grids (with micro hydro and diesel generators) and (iii) grid extension. Different technological pathways are analyzed considering various technical and socio-economic parameters in two country cases: Nepal and Afghanistan. Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is taken as the main basis for comparison of the various options, in which both environmental externalities and life cycle costs are considered. The analysis shows that the micro hydro based mini grid technology is the most competitive alternative for electrifying isolated and remote rural areas in both countries. Individual household technology should be promoted only in places with scattered households where there is no possibility of mini grid solution. The choice of technology and the pathway adopted in Nepal seems functional, though some flaws within the pathways need to be addressed. In Afghanistan, the technological pathways for rural electrification are not well-defined and the country lacks a clear cut national policy framework for rural electrification. Here, micro hydro based mini grid would be a more sustainable proposition rather than diesel generators as promoted in the transitional phase. Afghanistan can benefit from lessons learnt in Nepal not least in the formation of markets for renewable technologies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 57, 299-310 p.
Levelized cost, off-grid, mini grid, grid, pathways, least cost
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-117716DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2013.01.057ISI: 000319025000036ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84874566006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-117716DiVA: diva2:602719
QC 201306282013-02-022013-02-022014-02-10Bibliographically approved