Course on Regulation and Sustainable Energy in Developing Countries - Session 1


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This session is devoted to the design of schemes for the large-scale dissemination of renewable energy technologies in developing countries. Market-based mechanisms overcome partly the limits of donor aid-projects. They build on public-private partnerships where a network of local entrepreneurs contributes to the maintenance of systems.

The example of solar home systems will be explained. Even if there are in many instances in parity with fossil fuels, small photovoltaic systems remain unaffordable for the majority of rural inhabitants without proper financial support mechanisms. But in the most active countries, the number of systems disseminated is now in the range of several ten thousands to several hundred thousands systems, thanks to the implementation of rural energy services companies.

Recent technological innovation could contribute to the acceleration of the diffusion of solar photovoltaic. The innovation introduced by the massive diffusion of mobile phones in developing countries tends simultaneously to create new markets for small photovoltaic systems and could improve the conditions for the diffusion of these systems by facilitating the daily management of these systems by rural energy services companies. Furthermore, Light Emitting Diodes (LED) technology opens new perspectives of self-sustained market diffusion.

The implementation of small rural energy services companies can also help to disseminate a wider range of products: LPG, cookstoves, biodigesters... New practices from rural energy providers tend to target more precisely the demand of end-users by combining the offer of photovoltaic systems with a variety of technologies to satisfy other energy needs than basic lighting in rural areas.

Concrete case studies from the dissemination of different renewable energy technologies in developing countries will be presented, notably in Zambia, South Africa, Bangladesh, China...

It will conclude with the institutional and regulatory framework that needs to be implemented to help rural energy services companies to thrive even in the most remote areas of developing countries.

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Course on Regulation and Sustainable Energy in Developing Countries - Session 1

  1. 1. (Off-Grid) Rural Electrificationwith Renewable Energies in Developing Countries Leonardo Webinar 1st December 2011 Dr Xavier LEMAIRE, Research Associate Sustainable Energy Regulation Network - REEEP University College London – Energy Institute
  2. 2. Summary 1. Status of rural electrification in developing countries 2. Various RE technologies for rural electrification 3. Emerging forms of rural decentralised electrification 4. Main features of an off-grid framework
  3. 3. Part 1. Current status 1. Status of rural electrification in developing countries 2. RE technologies for rural electrification 3. Emerging forms of rural decentralised electrification 4. Main features of an off-grid framework
  4. 4. High disparity of non-electrification rate (2008) Source: UNDP/WHO, 2009
  5. 5. Large part of the world in the dark “The amount of electricity consumed in one day in all sub-Saharan Africa, minus South Africa, is about equal to that consumed in New York City” (Fatih Birol, IEAs chief economist)
  6. 6. Number of people without electricity will remain high… Source: IEA/OCDE,2009
  7. 7. Why rural electrification is lagging in some part of theworld? (1) Historical reasons  Ex-colonies – colonizer not interested in rural electrification (2) Demographic impact (3) Lack of financial resources (4) Lack of “political commitment”  Rural inhabitants far from decision-makers!  Bias in favour of limited extension of the grid  Priority to urban areas  Remote areas with low density: too costly/uncertain benefits
  8. 8. Vicious circle linked to financial situation of utilities 4. Priority 5. Lack of investment power generation in urban areas in network and rural areas Consumption subsidised Poor maintenance 1. Poor quality of service/pricing 3. Lack of financial return for electric companies Lack of control Increase of consumption = increase of financial gap 2. Unauthorised Connection / Low energy tariff = Non efficient energy appliances
  9. 9. Self-perpetuating logic Utilities tend “naturally” to focus on electrification of areas with high density/high income where they can sale electricity produced with conventional energy sources Utilities tend to ignore areas difficult to reach, where income can be very low and electricity has to be produced by decentralised systems  High operating costs / logistic difficulties  Systems with RET out of their field of knowledge (Poor) regulation/ (weak) institutions and policies for centralised system ignore small decentralised generation anyway  Rural inhabitants “in the dark”  OR unregulated electrification of remote areas by small private investors Privatisation/unbundling/transparency/tariff   de-politicisation of the electricity sector?  BUT economic barrier remains = rural electrification costly – private investors?
  10. 10. Rural electrification? Necessity:  of a rural electrification policy !  of a central institution to promote this policy & channel funding  of an (adapted) regulatory framework No fatalism  Some countries have made spectacular progress in few decades  Mexico, Thailand, Bangladesh, Tunisia, China, South Africa,…
  11. 11. Part 2. RE technologies in rural areas 1. Status of rural electrification in developing countries 2. RE technologies for rural electrification 3. Emerging forms of rural decentralised electrification & case studies 4. Main features of an off-grid framework
  12. 12. Hydro Power The technically feasible potential of hydro-electricity developing part of the world:  less than 7% in Africa exploited  Around 22% in Asia exploited  and 33% in Latin America exploited (World Atlas of Hydropower and Dams, 2002). Furthermore, funding for hydro-electricity goes mainly, if not exclusively, for large hydro-electricity. Class Station Capacity  Micro Hydro Up to 100 KW  Mini Hydro From 100 KW to 2 MW  Small Hydro From 2 MW to 25 MW
  13. 13. Small hydro power (SHP)
  14. 14. Micro Hydro (100 kW Manali District - Himachal Pradesh)
  15. 15. Wind power Large generators (0.750 MW to 5 MW)  Big players – emerging countries  India: 14,5 GW installed in March 2011  China: 40+ GW installed end 2010  “Small” players in emerging/developing world  Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Small generators (0.5 kW to 300 KW)  Electricity with hybrid system (wind + hydro, wind + diesel)  Or wind pump for water
  16. 16. 30 MW wind farm in India
  17. 17. Small wind generator in developing countries 200kW in Sri Lanka  Wind pump in Guatemala
  18. 18. Biogas generation Produces gas  Cooking/Heating  China, India, Nepal,…  + Generator = Electricity 0.4 kW to 700 KW  Help to remove waste  Reduce Green House Gas emissions
  19. 19. Biogas system
  20. 20. “Big” photovoltaic system 200 Wp
  21. 21. Pico-photovoltaic? Source: Lighting Africa
  22. 22. Solar generation The Watt Power output of a Solar module is the number of Watts Output when it is illuminated under standard conditions of 1000 Watts/meter2 intensity, 25°C ambient temperature and a spectrum that relates to sunlight that has passed through the atmosphere (AM or Air Mass 1.5).  A 1 kWp system will produce 1 kW under ideal conditions Typical Solar Home System  in Europe – 1 kW peak to several kW peak for households  With 2kWp = 50% of electricity of an household in the UK (10+ K£)  In a developing country :  10 Watt peak to 150 Watt peak – light / TV  Around 200 W peak – solar fridge  Water pump one to several kW peak
  23. 23. PVGIS copyright European Commission 2001-2008 and HelioClim-1copyright Mines ParisTech / Armines 2001-2008. Source: /
  24. 24. Huge decrease of PV cost
  25. 25. Particular interest of solar Reduction of the cost / Wp of more than 80% since early 1980s of the solar panels from the manufacturers to 2004, stable for few years then since 2008 another 60%. Current long-term growth rate of the photovoltaic market + 40%/year  BUT photovoltaic panels only part of the cost (40/50%)  against batteries (20%)  and installation costs (40%) Cost decreasing but still quite high initial investment (350-1000 US$ for a 50 Wp system) if it has to be borne by end-users. Solar interesting in remote areas/scattered houses for low loads compared to:  Candles, paraffin - quality of light with PV is superior  Diesel generators - mechanical parts and cost of fuel  Connection to the grid - high costs of substation
  26. 26. How rural areas could benefit from new technologies? Paradox of solar energy: in rural areas of developing countries where it could be useful – solar remains expensive Source: REN 21
  27. 27. Part 3. Emerging forms of decentralisedelectrification 1. Status of rural electrification in developing countries 2. RE technologies for rural electrification 3. Emerging forms of rural decentralised electrification 4. Main features of an off-grid framework
  28. 28. Main barriers for rural electrification with RET? Diffusion of a new but now mature technology  Technology-driven not sufficient  Needs a context  Institutions and people  Financing scheme  Companies  End-users  Training / Knowledge scheme  Companies / Utilities / Decision-makers  End-users  Financial institutions Sustainable market  Market-driven  Stable & adapted regulatory framework
  29. 29. Toward a new generation of RET projects? 1) First generation of projects funded by aid transfer of technology  passivity of receptors  Renewable systems were given  Not maintained by local beneficiaries of aid 2) New generation of projects Energy just a technical problem?  Social needs (not just kWh!)  To provide a service (not just to sell & install a product)  Maintenance of systems even if the cost is low has to be borne by the end-users  Clients selected according to their purchasing power  Selection of local entrepreneurs  Market-driven (and not just donor or technology-driven)  Far larger scale than previous projects  Economies of scale and density
  30. 30. How to design a rural electrification scheme…  New actors for public-private partnership,  private entrepreneurs, NGOs, cooperatives,…  Overcome barriers of up-front costs  Rural electrification  subsidies  Access to diversified sources of funding  Innovative financial scheme  Reduce costs of installation & maintenance  Local manufacturing  Clear definition of who is responsible of systems and monitoring  Find good combination conventional & new technologies  Integrated energy services and not just promotion of one technology  Long-term commitment of public authorities  Stable regulatory framework
  31. 31. Source: World Bank/ESMAP, 2008.
  32. 32. Part 4. Main features of an off-grid framework 1. Status of rural electrification in developing countries 2. RE technologies for rural electrification 3. Emerging forms of rural decentralised electrification 4. Main features of an off-grid framework
  33. 33. A robust institutional frameworkFUNCTIONS Regulation by the national electricity regulator with a specialisedDefines rules for Function of departmentcompetition: tariff for RE; OR(integrated planning); independent Regulation by the government entitystandards regulator that provides installation subsidiesOperational measures(energy surveys) andfunding/bundling (loans, Rural electrificationgrants) notably CDM Control agency / fund standardsInstall, collect fees ANDguarantee functioning of and tariffs Control standards andsustainable energy tariffssystems complaintsVariety of approach possiblefor institutional design. But all ESCOs ESCOs ESCOsfunctions needs to becovered and clear definition Same entity (or linked entities)of who is responsible of what responsible for installation ANDDelegation / sub-contracting maintenance of a system x x x x xxx x x xx x x x x xx xxx xx x xxx x xx end-users
  34. 34. Clear repartition of roles Functions/roles to be fulfilled  <> creation of new departments not always needed. Reduction of costs for end-users and funding agencies  Off-grid regulation  Regulation can be sub-contracted to rural electrification agency (expertise)  Rural electrification plan and strategy  Organisations capable of evaluating local needs  Sub-contracted to NGOs/close supervision of rural electrification agency  Evaluation & feed-back  Need to monitor and evaluate the scheme ex-post  Delegated/subcontracted to consultants  End-users can nominate a delegate
  35. 35. Appropriate regulation for off-grid  Light-handed approach  Protection of consumer  Adapted standards  Importance of correct tariff setting
  36. 36. Light-handed regulation? Regulation often adapted first and foremost to conventional utilities Avoid over-regulation:  Regulation of small utilities <> large utilities  Licensing procedures & control shall be adapted to small operators  Over-regulation = no regulation (illegality) Protect small operators against encroachment /expansion of grid by large utilities or give them financial compensation
  37. 37. Case of Bolivia: Recognition of the impossibility ofimplementing conventional regulation* Before 2000, all operators of isolated village mini-grids above 300kW installed generating capacity were required to acquire concessionsBUT  Concessions could only be granted to entities that were shareholder companies / 2/3 of mini-grids operated by cooperatives  The reporting requirement and technical standards were too costly to satisfy by small cooperatives  Better to have light regulation than to have multiple unlicensed operators (safety,…)Partial intermediate solution Raise the threshold of regulation to 500 kW peak demand Allow cooperatives to maintain their legal status for an initial period of 7 years Discussion to lower reporting and technical requirements for all mini-grids with less than 2,000 users.Proposed final regulation Systems above 1 MW  Regulated as before Systems between 300kW and 1 MW  Fewer reporting requirement and less stringent service standards Systems under 300 kW  No obligation for operators except to register themselves and provide a yearly update of basic information * Working paper from ESMAP/World Bank, 2006.
  38. 38. Role of regulator – protection of consumer Communication / public awareness  Control of level of expectations of end-users  What RE can do and cannot do  Energy efficiency measures  RE implies energy efficiency Complaints of end-users  In rural areas, end-users are isolated  Channel of information?  Rural companies can abuse their power  Revoke license?
  39. 39. Role of regulators - standards Standards have a cost  High standards = high costs  Compromise - what is really needed Regulators can refer to already existing standards for materials in other countries:  photovoltaic  solar heater installations Regulation of the market has a tremendous impact for limited cost  Avoid sub-standards products or installation  Guarantee consumer satisfaction Important to monitor / regulate effectively the market  Periodic control  Staff specialised on rural electrification  Specialised department of the regulatory body  Or can be left to the rural electrification agency  Or subcontracted (regulation by contract) Awareness and training are fundamental part  Regulators, technicians, end-users  Get local institutions involved (universities, NGOs,…)
  40. 40. Role of regulator: tariff setting Kind of tariff  Flat tariff for individual systems  Metering systems when connected to collective central system Offer: importance of cost recovery for sustainability of business  Operating costs of utilities  Needs to be covered ! public subsidies for investment costs only !  Importance of creation of provision/batteries fund for solar  Part of capital costs?  If tariff covers part of capital cost, utilities can expand to new customers  If not, continuous public subsidies are needed for expansion  Subsidies = the ones given for grid-connection Demand: tariff that can be afforded by end-users  Survey of structure of incomes  % of the inhabitants of an area to be reached Procedure for annual revision  High inflation rate in some countries  Rate of exchange / US dollar (imported components)  Capacity of payment of end-users
  41. 41. Central role of rural electrification agency Integrated planning  Energy surveys  Socio-economic comparisons (Regulation)  Tariff  Standards and codes of practices Funding  Interlocutor of international agencies  Bundling small scale projects (Clean Development Mechanisms) Monitoring and evaluation  Rural agencies  Central interlocutor of local utilities (and end-users)  Importance of permanent trained and dedicated staff  Importance of financial resources – own budget  Operating autonomy with rural electrification as primary objective
  42. 42. Appropriate planning & design system Design local generation and distribution system  Comparisons  Cost RE technology  Cost hybrid system  Cost connection to the grid  Least cost planning (not just energy supply)  Energy efficiency and demand-side management  Lifetime of the project: 20/30 years  Rising operating costs and risk linked to conventional energies  Increase of the demand  Demography Future extension of the grid?  What is planned by the utility
  43. 43. Technology neutral:combination of various technologies Technology neutral with an “optimal” combination of:  Centralised systems – grid / Decentralised / mini-grid systems / Individual systems  Market open to new entrants with new technologies Not just one source of energy, but a combination of energies * Electricity When available: small hydro / wind / biomass / geothermal Otherwise solar photovoltaic  Intensity of solar radiation (5-6 kWh/m2)  Low density of population in some areas  Flexibility of the investment + diesel generation as a complement (for productive use) and not necessarily main source:  High operational costs / difficulty of supply of fuel and repair mechanical parts in remote areas  Rising costs of energy & risk * Heat / cooking  LPG, biomass, SWH, solar cooking,… Individual needs / productive use – precise evaluation of energy needs   fees and income generated locally, spatial location of energy needs  SHS ideal for basic needs: light, radio, TV, mobile phone  Solar for use with low loads: solar pump, schools, health centres…  Other energies / small grid for productive use
  44. 44. Combination of mini-grid & individual systemsMinimum costs= mini grid for78 HH andindividual solarhome systemsfor 22 HH Source: WordPower, 2000
  45. 45. Long term comparison of total costs (case PV) High investment costs High operating costs Low investment $ costs = genset Low operating costs $ batteries Long-term integrated comparisons Life cycle costing N+20 or even N+30 N+20 or even N+30 Diesel systems Solar Home Systems
  46. 46. Implement institutions to solve the questions of highinvestment costs in rural areas and long-term maintenance 1. Support mechanisms to reduce $ up-front costs / creation of rural funding agencies (subsidies, integrated planning) Reduction of up front 2. Creation of organisations to costs of RET spread the up-front costs and maintain systems Spread RET up front - “Banks”: Micro-credit / revolving costs credit / loan - Utilities: Fee for service / ESCOs,… N+20
  47. 47. Rural energy service companies Deliver an energy service  Electricity (SHS or hybrid)  Heat/cooking (LPG – Liquefied Petroleum Gas, biogas) May diversify to other services / products  Water? Solar water heaters  But then increase complexity of management Existing structure or new enterprises?  Add activities to consolidate electrification business  Synergies: LPG, Solar water heaters,…  Specialisation on core activities Long-term financial sustainability  Branch of a major company  Independent enterprise
  48. 48. Elements of conclusion New institutions / new way of thinking  Market-driven (and not just donor-driven)  Training is crucial (at every level)  Focusing on sustainability in the long term of delivery of energy services (and not just kWh)  Appropriate level of financing of the operators  Maintenance of the energy systems  Long-term homogenous & stable regulatory framework … with regulation adapted to new actors  Adapted to small companies = introduce new actors  Limit the power market of existing utilities  Rural electrification depoliticised (independence and transparency) … framed by a real energy strategy/policy  Long-term commitment of the government  Energy + industrial policy + local development Nurse a market = create jobs locally and nationally + local expertise
  49. 49. References to go further Electrification and Regulation: Principles and a Model Law Discussion Paper No. 18 by Kilian Reiche, Bernard Tenenbaum, and Clemencia Torres de Mästle. World Bank, Energy and Mining Sector Board, July 2006. World Bank pdf Comparative Study on Rural Electrification Policies in Emerging countries, Keys to Successful Policies, by Alexandra Niez, OECD, 2010. Rural Electrification in the Developing World: A Summary of Lessons from Successful Programs, by Douglas Barnes and Gerard Foley, Esmap – World Bank, 2004. Douglas B. (Ed.), 2007. The Challenge of Rural Electrification – Strategies for Developing Countries, Resources for the Future – ESMAP.
  50. 50. Contact  University College London -Energy Institute. Central House - 14 Upper Woburn Place London WC1H 0NN United Kingdom   REEEP - Sustainable Energy Regulation Network 