Energy programs have been implemented across Africa and specifically the Eastern Africa by various organizations for over twenty-five years. Programs have evolved and improved by taking advantage of both formal and informal communication of program features and lessons learned.
The best practice projects presented herein seek to build experience and knowledge by establishing a structure for sharing best practices to help meet today’s complex energy challenges.
Improved Stoves in Ethiopia
Various energy sector studies conducted in the mid 1980s identified the rising cost of domestic energy supplies on household consumers, unsustainable consumption of fuel wood, increasing deforestation and soil erosion as major environmental and economic problems facing Ethiopia. Demand side management was one among various strategies adopted by the Government of Ethiopia to address the issue and was aimed at reducing households demand for biomass and hence relieving the pressure on the remaining woody biomass resources. This was done through the Ethiopian improved stoves programme, whose objective was to reduce cost and improve the supply of household (biomass) fuels for domestic consumers.
► More Information about Ethiopia Energy Situation
Innovative Approaches Adopted in the Implementation
Based on some groundbreaking work completed by its predecessor, the Cooking Efficiency Programme Planning in Ethiopia (CEPPE), the Cooking Efficiency Improvement and New Fuels Marketing Project (CEINFMP), financed by the WB and executed by the then Ethiopian Energy Authority (EEA) and now Ethiopian Rural Energy Development and Promotion Centre (EREDPC), commenced in 1989 and was officially closed in 1995.
From the outset, the project had set three key success criteria for its new or improved stoves models. These were:
- A minimum of 25% savings by new improved stoves over its competitor,
- Both production and marketing of the new stoves has to be based on commercial principles, i.e., using locally available technical skills and materials for production and using existing commercial channels for marketing and dissemination, and
- The new stoves have to be socially and culturally acceptable by their consumers.
Arising from the three core principles, the following are some of the innovative approaches adopted by the project:
- A limited and gradually declining subsidy to cover costs including design, testing and development, technical training to private sector artisans, and market support and promotion,
- Use of revolving loan funds to provide newly trained artisans with badly needed working capital and some basic hand tools,
- Training many producers to encourage competition while keeping an eye on quality of products,
- Creating linkages between metal clad producers and potters who produce ceramic liners in the outskirts of Addis,
- Close supervision, monitoring and follow up of production and sales,
- Placing consumer needs and preferences at the centre of all operations.
Impacts and Benefits
Today, millions of the ‘Lakech’ improved charcoal stoves and hundreds of thousands of the ‘Mirte’ Injera stove together with its variants are sold commercially through existing market channels. As a result of large scale adoption of these improved stoves with proven savings of between 40% and 50% compared with traditional stoves, there have been enormous positive impacts to local consumers, the Ethiopian economy and the environment .
Successful commercialization of improved stoves is benefiting both consumers and producers. The benefits to consumers include, in addition to other unquantifiable benefits (cleanliness, speed, safety, improved health due to reduced smoke), accruing financial benefits that their new stoves offer them. Informal sector artisans have benefited from additional income they earn from manufacturing these stoves. At national level, the economy has benefited from reduced pressure on woody biomass resources, which, in Ethiopia’s case, is directly linked with soil fertility and hence agricultural productivity. On the global arena, no matter how small their contribution may be, large scale adoption of improved stoves has had environmental advantages of reduced CO2 emissions due to better combustion.
Sirba-Gudeti is a village consisting of some 250 households currently and located at about 65km south of Addis Ababa. The village consists of some 250 farm households (around 1500 people). In 1988, the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, as part of its national efforts to provide basic social services to rural areas, had installed PV-powered community water supply scheme. The scheme, in addition to reducing the drudgery of women who are solely responsible for fetching water, had also improved community’s health at large by providing access to clean drinking water. After nearly two decades of almost un-interrupted service to the community, however, the water supply scheme broke down due to aging in 2002. As a result, residents of the village were compelled to revert back to un-safe water sources. The breakdown of the PV water supply unit and the subsequent decline in quality of water has not only resulted in increasing incidences of water-borne diseases, but also has reinstated the old drudgery on women and girls who have to manually lift and transport water from the wells located far away from the village.
PV Solar Home Systems (PV SHS) for powering entertainment electronic appliance and for lighting. Strategically, MEKETA intended to use the village as a Rural Sustainable Energy Demonstration site, therefore, the overall objectives of the project was to rehabilitate the community water supply unit and to pilot and promote the adoption of 12VDC battery based systems (BBS), to meet small power requirements of rural consumers.
Innovative Approaches Adopted in the Implementation
MEKETA’s strategic approach emphasizes the need for rehabilitation of existing community infrastructure (biogas plants, PV, irrigation schemes, etc) that were built for demonstration purposes but abandoned or became dysfunctional due to minor technical problems that could be fixed relatively easily. In addition to the Sirba-Gudeti PV-powered community, it is believed that there are several thousands such schemes throughout rural Ethiopia;. The project, with a small grant from Cord Aid (a Dutch NGO), renovated the two wells, replaced worn out components and put all the existing PV modules back in operation. The community provided labour and locally available construction materials.
Such an approach to community needs is not only cost-effective but also sustainable. Provision of technical training and institutionalization of the water supply scheme are vital to ensure the sustainability of the scheme. Cognizant of this, the implementing agency restructured and strengthened an existing Water Committee that administered the scheme, provided basic technical and business skills to its members, set up financial control system to ensure availability funds to cover for day to day operating cost as well as repair and maintenance in the future.
The village was intended to be used as a platform not only for demonstration of renewable energy equipment and accessories, but also for promotion of the commercial market to ensure the supply and adoption of the technologies in a self-sustaining fashion. Recently, use of automotive batteries has become a common phenomenon in many parts of rural Ethiopia. However, such use is confined to only powering radio, cassette players and BW TV sets. Use of batteries for home lighting is almost unknown. Besides, all batteries had to be carried a long distance of up to 45km for recharging using grid electricity. The second component of the project was intended to establish a model PV-powered battery charging station in the vicinity of Debre Zeit town. In line with this, MEKETA set up a Solar Battery Charging Station intended to promote the use and adoption of BBS for all 12VDC appliances in off-grid rural areas. The BBS pilot project was implemented in a village called Hiddi, east of Debre Zeit.
Impacts and Benefits
Since its installation in 1988, except for three or four times (about three years altogether) during which the inverter and Grundfos pumps needed repair and or replacement, the 1.2 KWp PV unit has been providing power in a very reliable manner. Although the unit seems to have much higher capacity, currently, it is lifting 20 M3 of water daily consumed by some 250 households each day. With proper management, the refurbished water supply scheme will continue serving the community for the coming several years. In fact, the PV-powered community water supply scheme is a living example demonstrating the sustainability and reliability of PV solar technologies for off-grid rural electricity needs.
The Solar Battery Charging Station in Hiddi village benefited over 100 direct consumers of 12 Volt DC lamps provided by the pilot project. Several hundred automotive battery users will benefit from reduced travel and transport effort to charging stations. In addition to the global environment, when DC lamps are widely adopted in the area, thousands of rural households and businesses, who are using kerosene wick lamps currently, will benefit from cleaner and more affordable lighting.
GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: VII - Best Practice Case Studies.
- ↑ MEKETA (2007): Rehabilitation of Appropriate Energy Schemes for Community Water Supply and Household Energy Adaa Liban Woreda, Eastern Shoa Zone, Oromiya, Ethiopia, Final Report, Nairobi, July 2007.