An international research team has proposed the construction of a sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) central grid in 12 countries to reduce energy poverty. The proposed transmission line would touch Mali, Nigeria, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique and South Africa.
The researchers used EnergyPLAN simulation software to determine the renewable energy generation capacity, economic costs and delivery strategies needed to balance SSA’s projected future electricity demand with the proposed new grid by 2040.
They also used Matlab software to evaluate the possibilities of integrating electric vehicles and hydrogen production. “The method and model presented in this study can also be adopted in individual countries and regions or continents as a solution to energy poverty and a way to achieve zero emissions,” they elaborated, noting that wind and solar are the only two renewable energy sources considered in the study, and pumped water plays a special role in energy storage.
The 12 countries that the proposed transmission line would touch are Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique and South Africa. The research team said they chose these countries to follow the grid line and facilitate expansion in the future. “Countries have been selected based on data availability, proximity to other countries with sufficient data, country size and economic status in SSA,” the paper explained.
The academics developed six different scenarios for the years 2030 and 2040. They estimated the electricity demand of 12 countries at 678 TWh/year for 2030 and 760 TWh/year for 2040. The average electricity demand is estimated at 77,186 MW.
Through their modeling, the researchers found that about 665,000 MW of solar power in Nigeria, Sudan, Niger, Mali, Chad, Ethiopia and South Africa could help significantly reduce energy poverty in SSA by 2030 with the support of pumped water storage.
“Furthermore, 100 TWh/year in electricity demand in 2040 (800 TWh/year) 2030 solar power capacities will increase to 42,000 MW in Nigeria, 60,000 MW in Sudan and Niger, 80,000 MW in Mali and Chad, 40,000 MW in Ethiopia, 40,000 MW in Africa, adding that Chad, Mali and Sudan can control The future development of CSP plants, as they have a huge solar potential for this particular technology. “To meet the energy demand of 2040, the installed capacity of CSP plants will increase enormously in 2030.”
The researchers found that solar energy offers the cheapest option in terms of annual investment costs, while wind offers a cheaper solution in terms of total investment costs, which they say makes wind the better option.
They said that to achieve energy security and decarbonize electricity generation by 2030 or 2040, the “Hybrid with High Storage” case scenario is the most feasible option, suggesting a high integration of the two renewable energy sources. “It is noteworthy that the RE technologies in this study can be installed centrally or in smaller units in different parts of each country.”
The proposed network project is presented in a document published in 2000, “Suhara Sub-Saharan Africa’s Energy Poverty and Renewable Energy Potential.” scientific reports. The research team consists of researchers from Guangdong University of Petrochemical Technology, China University of Electronic Science and Technology, Cyprus International University, Chrisland University in Nigeria and Sharjah University in the United Arab Emirates.