An Energy Model for a Low Income Rural African Village

From Open Energy Information

This paper reports on efforts to extend a MARKAL energy model for South Africa to include rural energy choices, allowing for computation of optimal energy systems in a typical (non-electrified) rural village.

This paper presents a new model of energy system dynamics of a low-income rural community in South Africa. It identifies deficiencies in earlier efforts to model energy choices in rural villages, present this new model, and summarize a new survey of a non-electrified village (Nkweletsheni) that was used for calibration. It computes a baseline scenario for future consumption of energy services in the village, and explores scenarios that envision access to grid electricity as well as internalisation of pollution costs.

The model framework, an early product of a long-term research programme, is a tool that can be used for system planning and evaluation of the costs and benefits of policies for rural energy services; it is also useful in analyzing environmental policies, such as measures within the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that are designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases below a baseline while not reducing (or even enhancing) a village’s level of economic activity or access to energy. The modeling framework could also help to improve the quality of household energy survey by focusing survey methods on the core data that must be collected systematically in order to allow policy analysis.