Between 2005 and 2009 I was the technical editor of an ESMAP Knowledge Exchange Series that involved the publication of four page summaries of current energy issues. When I recently reviewed these notes after four years, I was struck by both the quality of these four page notes and the continuing relevance of the issues covered. Also, most of the authors of these notes have 20 to 30 years of experience of working on energy in developing countries issues. Because they are no longer very prominent on the ESMAP website, buried beneath more recent work, I have decided to resurrect them in this blog
I am sorry for the long delay between posts. Both an illness and work somehow got in the way of working on this blog. I have decided to revive it, but will not post as often as before. But continue to check back as there will be more to come.
Retroactively I have grouped these Knowledge Exchange Notes into four groups. The first is on grid and offgrid rural electrification programs. The second is on electricity generated mainly for the electricity grid. The third group is biomass energy both for cooking and transport. Finally, there are two notes on how rising energy prices impact the poor.
Just click on titles to bring up the notes. Enjoy the series!
Grid and Offgrid Rural Electrification
KES2. Transformative Power: Meeting theChallenge of Rural electrification. Douglas Barnes. A variety of countries have addressed the problems inherent in providing electricity to their populations. By providing a snapshot of various programs and the different ways in which programs have provided electricity to their rural populations, a set of best practices were developed to highlight factors that should be emulated, and those that should be avoided. This is a summary of the findings in the book The Challenge of Rural Electrification: Challenges for Developing Countries.
KES 3. Four Regulatory Principles to Promote Diverse Electrification. Kilian Reiche, Bernard Tenenbaum, and Clemencia Torres. The study proposes four principles for regulatory systems that will help, rather than hinder, electrification. The principles and the accompanying real world examples show how successful electrification often requires that the traditional functions of regulation be performed in non-traditional ways.
KES5. A Primer on Consumer Surplus and Demand: Common Questions and Answers. Henry M. Peskin. Measuring consumer’s surplus is an increasingly popular approach to quantifying the monetary benefits of energy projects at the World Bank. A brief primer on the concept on the use of consumer surplus in measuring the benefits of rural electrification is presented along with the strengths and weaknesses of this method.
KES10 Electricity Beyond the Grid: Innovative Programs in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Chandra Govindarajalu, Raihan Elahi, and Jayantha NagendranExtending the national grid to remote rural areas remains a challenge in many developing countries. Complementary offgrid solutions using renewable energy applications can bring the benefits of electricity service to many more low-income rural households. This note examines two successful offgrid electriﬁcation projects in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Key to their success are design principles that can be applied to any program that aims to deliver rural energy services.
KES12. Easing Investment Barriers: Nicaragua’s Renewable Energy Potential. Wolfgang Mostert. Recently Nicaragua’s economy faced a triple squeeze: high power prices, power shortages, and increased costs for imported fuels. Despite the country’s economically-viable renewable energy potential, risk-averse private investors prefer diesel power plants, with their low upfront costs. The lessons of the country’s problematic power-sector reform of 1998–99 are reviewed in the context of measures to ease barriers to RE investment.
Grid Electricity from Decentralized Sources
KES7. Power Purchase Agreements for Small Power Producers. Steven Ferry and Anil Cabraal. Five Asian nations, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam began designing or instituting Small Power Producer (SPP) programs in the mid- 1990s to support energy development jointly with the private sector. This note draws on important markers and lessons for other countries on how to implement similar programs based on these experiences. While all Asian programs demonstrate certain commonalities due to fundamental legal relationships, each experience has been tailored to local conditions and requirements. Some have introduced innovative bidding, competitive, or incentive structures. The result is a rich palette of experience with small power projects in Asia.
KES9. Hedging Mexico’s Electricity Bets: The Case for Renewable Energy. Daniel Farchy. Few investors would risk putting all of their money into a single asset based on a 30-year forecast, yet narrowly-interpreted least-cost energy planning has often done just that. In Mexico, regulatory policies have hindered adoption of renewable energy (RE) and other diversified power options that could reduce portfolio risk. Against this backdrop, this note illustrates the country’s growing recognition of RE as a viable way to broaden investments in power generation and increase long-term security.
KES11. Scaling Up Renewable Energy in China: Economic Modeling Method and Application. Richard Spencer, Peter Meier, and Noureddine Berrah. Many countries wishing to scale up grid-based renewable energy introduce policies that set national targets. But such policy decisions must be based on a solid analytical framework that evaluates the optimum economic quantity of grid-based generation that RE sources can produce. Based on these calculations, an optimal mix of policy instruments can be selected to achieve those targets.
KES8. Indoor Air Pollution in Cold Climates: The Cases of Mongolia and China. Enis Baris, Salvador Rivera, Zuzana Boehmova, and Samantha Constant. Cold climate countries or regions are not often the focus of studies of indoor air pollution (IAP). The case studies of China and Mongolia are examined to examine the lessons learned from their programs in cold climates.
KES13. Improving Indoor Air in Rural Bangladesh: Results of Controlled Experiments. Susmita Dasgupta, Mainul Huq, M. Khaliquzzaman, and David Wheeler. In rural Bangladesh, indoor air pollution is dangerously high for poor households dependent on biomass cooking fuels. Based on earlier research, controlled experiments were conducted in Burumdi village, Narayanganj District to test the effects of structural arrangements and ventilation practices on indoor air pollution order to make policy recommendations on how to alleviate indoor air pollution.
KES4. Potential for Biofuels for Transport in Developing Countries. Masami Kojima and Todd Johnson. An increasing number of requests from developing countries are considering the commercial viability of biofuels for transport. Drawing lessons from the successful Brazil experience, the socioeconomic considerations for establishing biofuel programs in developing countries are evaluated in the context of alternative policies.
Oil Prices and the Poor
KES1. The Impact of Higher Oil Prices on Low Income Countries and the Poor: Impacts and Policies. Robert Bacon. The impact of high oil prices in 2007 on poor countries is traced and policies are put forth to mitigate the impact on the poor.
KES6. How are Developing Countries Coping with Higher Oil Prices? Robert Bacon and Masami Kojima. In response to higher oil prices countries have developed different strategies to mitigate the effects of higher oil prices on consumers, the government budget, and the total demand for oil. The policy responses in response to the increases in world oil prices between 2003 and 2007 are examined in the context of their times.