Energy infrastructure for NPR (Pierluigi Leone)


Energy is the lifeblood of modern societies
since most of the economic activities are sustained by the right capacity of using and
managing energy resources. The relevance of energy is well consolidated
within the Agenda 2030 where, among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 7 is fully dedicated to energy. After this lecture, you will be able to identify
key dimensions for energy infrastructure with respect to economic growth, environmental
sustainability and security. The link between energy infrastructure, economic
growth and development can be described as the extent to which energy infrastructure
supports, or detracts from, economic growth and development. From a quantitative point of view, some indexes
are commonly used. – First, the energy intensity that is Gross
Domestic Product per unity of energy use. – Second, the cost of energy imports and the
value of energy exports as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. – Third, the energy affordability in form of energy prices, taxes or subsidies charged
on energy commodities. The link between energy infrastructure and
environmental sustainability expresses the extent to which energy infrastructure minimizes
negative environmental externalities. For this dimension, we can introduce some
indexes that refer: to the ratio of low-carbon fuel sources
in the energy mix, the total emissions including greenhouse
gases and air pollutants such as particulate matters. Finally, the link with energy access and
security results in the extent to which energy infrastructure is at risk of an energy security
impact, and whether adequate access to energy is provided to the population. In this respect, some indexes are
commonly used including: – firts, the level and quality of access;
– second, the diversity of supply – and third, self-sufficiency. With respect to these dimensions, Africa
is lagging behind other world regions representing a paradoxical situation: despite rich in resources,
energy supply is still insufficient to ensure the well-being of citizens. Home for the 16% of the global population, Africa accounts for only 6% of the total primary energy supply and the 3% of the total electricity demand, with the 5% of the global CO2 emission burden. The African average per capita of electricity
consumption, as well as the share in access to electricity and to modern fuels are incomparably
lower than the world average and definitely the lowest among the others aggregated regions. Moreover, energy uses underline the substantial
dependence on traditional use of solid biomass, especially at household level, and a very low
efficiency in the sector as synthetized by the energy intensity, which is 1.5
times higher than Europe and Central Asia. Access to electricity is limited to less
than 40% of the total population. Some countries still provide electricity to
less than 10% of the total population and rural areas, of around 20 Sub-Saharan countries,
are almost lacking electrical energy services. At any rate, and as continental average, electricity
consumption per capita is less than 600 kWh/per capita per year, representing less than 20%
of the world average. Access to clean fuels and technologies for
cooking is even smaller accounting for less than 15% of the Sub-Saharan population. Energy intensity is almost twice the world
average and more than three times the OECD level. Moreover, CO2 intensity is high and almost
twice the OECD level. These indicators give evidence of an economic
structure that still relies on a very low efficient and not clean supply chain for manufacturing. Finally, the power sector is often weakly
reliable in the African countries. Severe and frequent power shortages are threatening
the development of the agriculture and industrial sector and the consolidation of a stable socio-economic
prosperity within the region. From the transmission and distribution side,
the losses in poorly maintained networks are often twice the world average and contribute
to increase the overall primary energy used in the country, reducing efficiency of transformation. The structure of the power supply has a large
impact on the productivity of African businesses: according to the World Bank Enterprise Survey,
business owners find electricity services as one of the three main biggest obstacles
to their activities mainly due to: first, roughly 5% of annual sales are estimated
to be lost due to electrical outages. Second, electricity tariffs are among the
highest in the world and the frequent recourse to emergency back-up oil-fueled generators
or captive power may induce other consequences on electricity and affect product competitiveness; Third, time and costs to get electricity connection are high, affecting business development. A higher quality power network is expected
to raise the productivity of African companies: every additional $1 invested in the power
sector may generate more than $15 in incremental Gross Domestic Product. To achieve this goal, three main areas need
to be explored, including: first, the development of renewable resources; second, increasing energy efficiency and third
promoting a local industry for natural gas.

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