Energy Scenario Modelling in Developing Countries (2016)
Developing countries face different challenges for future electrical energy planning than developed countries. In particular, rural areas suffer from lack of energy supply, which is due to missing transmission infrastructure, influence of foreign players, and capitalization of energy production resources through export. In this paper, we highlight this situation by the case of Ethiopia, one of the least developed countries worldwide. So far, Ethiopia’s energy strategy is mainly based on hydropower, with major projects under construction. However, these projects are unlikely to support rural areas, and in addition have already sparked international controversy due to the substantial ecological impact. In order to obtain a better understanding of which alternative pathways may be feasible, we offer a new planning methodology based on an interactive and collaborative computer-based tool. The tool allows the exploration of different scenarios that include alternative energy sources such as wind power and photovoltaics. Our tool addresses the gap between current policy debates that will shape the development path of the country and existing energy modeling tools. Most existing tools are sophisticated but seem less adequate for developing countries in terms of scope and basic assumptions. By addressing these shortcomings, we present a tool that takes the specific properties of emerging energy markets into account and allows exploring the impact of various policy decisions in a collaborative way without assuming the presence of perfect markets or ubiquitous infrastructure. The tool does not require expert knowledge and can be made available easily to decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public as we demonstrated at the Addis2050 conference in Addis Ababa in 2012.