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Event - Sustainable African Electricity Sector Expansion: The Critical Role of Social Factors

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Title
Sustainable African Electricity Sector Expansion: The Critical Role of Social Factors
Organizer
ISE
Type
Online Seminars
Focus
  • Energy Access
  • Renewable Energy
  • Solar
Language
English
Start
2021/04/23 11:00 ET
End
2021/04/23 12:30 ET
Country
Worldwide
Venue
Online
URL
Description
Despite decades of efforts from the international development community, energy poverty in Africa remains pervasive: around 900 million people still lack access to clean cooking, and some 600 million people have no access to electricity service. Solving this problem is crucial to the continent’s future economic growth and human development—but solutions require huge amounts of capital, and moreover, the chosen solutions should be socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) systems based on solar energy are showing great promise in providing electricity access to underserved regions around the world. But to what extent can DERs be relied upon to end energy poverty in Africa? More broadly, how should electricity infrastructure in Africa be expanded (whether with large-scale grids or mini-grids) in a manner that best mitigates financial risks while fully addressing environmental and societal concerns?

In forthcoming research from ISE affiliated faculty, a system dynamics framework is proposed to describe the forces that shape electricity infrastructure expansion in any given region. In particular, the framework highlights two major factors that have generally been underemphasized in prior efforts addressing electricity access expansion in Africa: the role of societal structures and the consideration of the full spectrum of risks in electricity infrastructure development and operations.

Hosted by the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy.