Power Accessibility, Fossil Fuel and the Exploitation of Small Hydropower Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Williams S. Ebhota

Abstract

This study overviews the power status, salient barriers to adequate power access and the role of small hydropower in improving power accessibility in the region. The study notes that – over 50% of the population in 41 countries in the region have no access to electricity; the prediction of electricity access growth rate in SSA from 43% in 2016 to 59% in 2030; about 607 people, which is 90% of world’s population without access to electricity in 2030 will leave in the region and the rural areas access is below 20%; over 90% of the households in about 25 countries of SSA rely on waste, wood, and charcoal for cooking; the average grid power tariff in SSA is US$0.13 per kWh as against the range of US$0.04 to US$0.08 per kWh grid power tariffs in most parts of the developing world. Also, it was found that the sections of power supply system – generation, transmission and distribution facilities are affected by insufficient funding, poor maintenance and management and over dependence on foreign power supply technologies; and the region is endowed with huge SHP resource that is insignificantly tapped. Lack of workable SHP development framework; insufficient fund; effect of the electricity market in the region; lack of effective synergy among the stakeholders; insufficient and outdated hydrological information about SHP resources; inadequate human and manufacturing facility development were the identified factors responsible for SHP underdevelopment. Domestic development of SHP technology is required to effectively develop SHP to improve access to power in the region. This will require massive human capacity building and the use of locally soured materials and production facilities.

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