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Advancing the state of geospatial electrification modelling: New data, methods, applications, insight and electrification investment outlooks
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy Systems Analysis.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5487-1002
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

 

I skrivande stund uppskattas 860 miljoner människor globalt sakna tillgång till el. Målet att uppnå universal tillgång till el under det kommande decenniet – i enlighet med mål 7 av de globala målen för hållbar utveckling (SDG 7) – indikerar att många länder snart kommer att behöva införa riktlinjer, handlingsplaner och policys för att påskynda elektrifieringstakten. Detta utgör en stor utmaning och kräver betydande ekonomiska resurser så att tillgången till el kan nå även den fattiga landsbygdsbefolkningen i de minst utvecklade områdena.

En återblick genom historien avslöjar emellertid att en sådan påskyndning inte är unik. Många länder i ”den globala norden” har ställts inför liknande utmaningar för ungefär ett århundrade sedan. Tidigare exempel visar att elektrifieringsplanering – och medföljande politik – kan ta olika former baserat på underliggande sociala, tekniska, ekonomiska och politiska förhållanden. Detta framhäver vikten av att ta hänsyn till input på olika nivåer. Det belyser också behovet av tillförlitlig data och information som på bästa sätt beskriver den lokala kontexten (t.ex. resurstillgänglighet, befolkningsfördelning, ekonomisk verksamhet och infrastruktur). Samtidigt som framsteg inom geospatial informationsteknik har gjorts, har också tillgängligheten till sådan information ökat kraftigt. Fortfarande nyttjas dock inte denna information till sin fulla potential inom elektrifieringsplanering.

Denna avhandling syftar till att främja användandet av geospatiala informationssystem inom elektrifieringsplanering genom att presentera nya data, metoder, tillämpningar och insikter. Detta görs med hjälp av fyra artiklar och tre forskningsfrågor.

Den första frågan söker efter mönster, politiska dilemman och begränsningar relaterade till elektrifiering genom olika tidsepoker och geografiska områden. Analysen av dessa kan informera aktuella och framtida planeringsaktiviteter för elektrifiering. Därför tar artikel I en tillbakablick på elektrifieringsutmaningar i USA, Storbritannien, Sverige och Kina, samt undersöker strategier, framgångshistorier och misslyckanden i respektive fall. Resultaten avslöjar viktiga lärdomar om utvecklingsfaserna för elektrifiering – med fokus på rollen som lokala isolerade elnät har.

Den andra frågan berör huruvida användandet av geospatial information kan introducera nya data och metoder i ett befintligt modelleringsramverk (t.ex. OnSSET) och hjälpa till med hanteringen av olika dilemman som uppstår vid elektrifieringsplanering. Artikel II fokuserar därför på nya öppet tillgängliga dataset för att göra spatialt explicita bedömningar av småskalig vattenkraftpotential i Afrika söder om Sahara. I artikel III beskrivs 26 nya, uppdaterade eller tidigare ej tillgängliga dataset, som efter bearbetning möjliggör nya synvinklar och analys för elektrifieringsplanering.

Den tredje forskningsfrågan fokuserar på hur OnSSET kan förbättras, öppnas upp och skalas upp så att en bredare publik på ett snabbt sätt kan utveckla informativa investeringsstrategier för elektrifiering som är både lands- och sammanhangsspecifika. Här utnyttjar artikel III och IV OnSSETs modulära struktur för att kalibrera dess funktioner och utveckla anpassade investeringsscenarion för elektrifiering av Malawi och Afghanistan. Dessa utforskar olika scenarion som är anpassade efter den politiska situationen i vardera av de två länderna (t.ex. gradvis elektrifiering för Malawi eller planering i konflikzoner för Afghanistan). Dessutom har denna avhandling utökat tillämpningen av OnSSET, genom plattformen Global Electrification Platform (GEP). GEP är en öppen plattform som möjliggör öppen åtkomst till 216 investeringsscenarion för elektrifiering (tillsammans med underliggande inputdata och modeller) för 59 länder världen över. All data på plattformen är tillgänglig för granskning, reproduktion och replikering för en bredare publik.​

Abstract [en]

Globally, it is estimated that there are approximately 860 million people without access to electricity. Achieving universal electricity access over the next decade – as part of Sustainable Development Goal 7 – indicates that many countries will soon need to set in place roadmaps, action plans and policy for ramping-up electrification. The challenge is significant. It requires the motivation of considerable financial resources so that electricity can reach poor, rural populations in least developed areas. 

 

A look back at history however, reveals that such a ramp-up of electrification activity is not unprecedented. Many countries in the “Global North” have faced similar challenges about a century ago. Past examples indicate that electrification planning – and ensuing policy – can take different shapes based on underlying social, technological, economic and political conditions. This brings forward the importance of considering inputs that reflect these conditions. It also highlights the need for reliable data and information that best describe the local context (e.g. resource availability, distribution of population, economic activities or infrastructure). While advancements in geo-spatial information technology have greatly improved the availability of such information in the past years, their use in electrification planning is not fully exploited. 

 

This dissertation aims to advance the state of geospatial electrification modelling by demonstrating new data, methods, applications and insights over the course of four academic papers covering three research questions. 

The first question searches for common – across different times and geographies – patterns, policy dilemmas and constraints related to electrification, the reading of which can shed light on current and future electrification planning activities. In response, paper I takes a retrospective look into the electrification challenge in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden and China and examines strategies, success stories and failures in each case. Results unveil key lessons regarding the development phases of electrification - with a focus on the role of isolated, small mini-grids. 

 

The second question asks whether the use of geospatial information technology can introduce new data and methods into an existing modelling framework (e.g. OnSSET) and help tackle electrification planning dilemmas. In response, paper II leverages new open access datasets to provide spatially explicit estimates of small-scale hydropower potential in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paper III demonstrates twenty-six new, updated or missing datasets, the processing of which allows new angles of analysis over electrification planning.

 

The third research question focuses on how the OnSSET modelling framework can be improved, open sourced and scaled so as to allow a broader audience develop fast, informative, country and context specific electrification investment strategies. Here, papers III and IV, leverage OnSSET’s modular structure, calibrate its functions and develop customized electrification investment outlooks for Malawi and Afghanistan respectively. These, explore different scenarios tuned according to the policy challenges in each country (e.g. gradual electrification in Malawi or planning under conflict risk in Afghanistan). Moreover, this dissertation has expanded OnSSET’s application range as part of the Global Electrification Platform (GEP). The GEP is an open access, collaborative environment that now hosts 216 electrification investment scenarios (together with underlying input data and models) for 59 countries worldwide, thus improving the transparency surrounding their review, reproduction or replication by a broader audience.​

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2020. , p. 150
Series
TRITA-ITM-AVL ; 2020:31
National Category
Energy Systems Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-273273ISBN: 978-91-7873-562-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-273273DiVA, id: diva2:1431484
Public defence
2020-06-15, https://kth-se.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UXIld9K6RkO3KR7fU9FQig, http://Vid fysisk närvaro eller Du som saknar dator/ datorvana kan kontakta service@itm.kth.se (English), 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
SweGRIDS - Swedish Centre for Smart Grids and Energy StorageAvailable from: 2020-05-22 Created: 2020-05-21 Last updated: 2020-05-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A Retrospective Analysis of Energy Access with a Focus on the Role of Mini-Grids
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Retrospective Analysis of Energy Access with a Focus on the Role of Mini-Grids
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2020 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 12, no 5, article id 1793Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 is a key part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development, and has its own Sustainable Development Goal, SDG 7.1. This is because electricity services are required for almost all aspects of a modern economy, from the cooling of vaccines to irrigation pumping, to manufacturing and running a business. The achievement of SDG 7.1 will require a thoughtful mix of policy, finance, and technology to be designed and implemented at scale. Yet, the pressing need for an electrification ramp-up is not unprecedented. Many countries (now considered “industrialized”) faced similar challenges about a century ago. Although the existing literature covers a great deal of power systems evolution, there is a gap around the specific role and impact of small, isolated power systems in the early stages of electricity uptake. In this paper, we provide insights based on the review of the historical electrification efforts in four (now middle and high-income) countries. The drivers and context of electrification efforts in early stages are described. Those focus particularly on the role of dispersed, small-scale generation systems (mini-grids). Our analysis shows that electrification follows four loosely defined phases, namely: pilot projects, technological roll-out, economic expansion, and social scale-up. We report a selection of historical mistakes and advances that offer lessons of striking importance for today´s energy access efforts, particularly in regards to the development of mini-grids. We find that today, as historically, multi-stakeholder (e.g., planners, regulators, developers, investors, third party actors) collaboration is key and can help build locally adaptable, economically sustainable and community compatible mini-grids that can accelerate—and lower the societal costs of—universal access to electricity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2020
Keywords
Mini-grids; Electrification; History of power systems; SDG 7
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Energy Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-273267 (URN)10.3390/su12051793 (DOI)000522470900094 ()
Note

QC 20200527

Available from: 2020-05-12 Created: 2020-05-12 Last updated: 2020-05-27Bibliographically approved
2. A geospatial assessment of small-scale hydropower potential in sub-saharan Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A geospatial assessment of small-scale hydropower potential in sub-saharan Africa
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2018 (English)In: Energies, ISSN 1996-1073, E-ISSN 1996-1073, Vol. 11, no 11, article id 3100Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the epicenter of an ongoing global dialogue around the issue of energy poverty. More than half of the world's population without access to modern energy services lives there. It also happens to be a sub-continent with plentiful renewable energy resource potential. Hydropower is one of them, and to a large extent it remains untapped. This study focuses on the technical assessment of small-scale hydropower (0.01-10 MW) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The underlying methodology was based on open source geospatial datasets, whose combination allowed a consistent evaluation of 712,615 km of river network spanning over 44 countries. Environmental, topological, and social constraints were included in the form of constraints in the optimization algorithm. The results are presented on a country and power pool basis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI AG, 2018
Keywords
Electrification, Geographic information systems, Hydropower, Sub-Saharan Africa, Economic and social effects, Energy poverties, Hydropower potential, Optimization algorithms, Social constraints, Technical assessment, Hydroelectric power
National Category
Medical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-247086 (URN)10.3390/en11113100 (DOI)000451814000238 ()2-s2.0-85057780833 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190503

Available from: 2019-05-03 Created: 2019-05-03 Last updated: 2020-05-21Bibliographically approved
3. The Role of Open Access Data in Geospatial Electrification Planning and the Achievement of SDG7. An OnSSET-Based Case Study for Malawi
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Role of Open Access Data in Geospatial Electrification Planning and the Achievement of SDG7. An OnSSET-Based Case Study for Malawi
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2019 (English)In: Energies, ISSN 1996-1073, E-ISSN 1996-1073, Vol. 12, no 7, article id 1395Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Achieving universal access to electricity is a development challenge many countries are currently battling with. The advancement of information technology has, among others, vastly improved the availability of geographic data and information. That, in turn, has had a considerable impact on tracking progress as well as better informing decision making in the field of electrification. This paper provides an overview of open access geospatial data and GIS based electrification models aiming to support SDG7, while discussing their role in answering difficult policy questions. Upon those, an updated version of the Open Source Spatial Electrification Toolkit (OnSSET-2018) is introduced and tested against the case study of Malawi. At a cost of $1.83 billion the baseline scenario indicates that off-grid PV is the least cost electrification option for 67.4% Malawians, while grid extension can connect about 32.6% of population in 2030. Sensitivity analysis however, indicates that the electricity demand projection determines significantly both the least cost technology mix and the investment required, with the latter ranging between $1.65-7.78 billion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2019
Keywords
open data, electrification modelling, Malawi, OnSSET
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-252650 (URN)10.3390/en12071395 (DOI)000465561400212 ()2-s2.0-85065472499 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190610

Available from: 2019-06-10 Created: 2019-06-10 Last updated: 2020-05-21Bibliographically approved
4. Supporting Electrification Policy in Fragile States: A Conflict-Adjusted Geospatial Least Cost Approach for Afghanistan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting Electrification Policy in Fragile States: A Conflict-Adjusted Geospatial Least Cost Approach for Afghanistan
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2020 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 12, no 3, article id 777Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Roughly two billion people live in areas that regularly suffer from conflict, violence, and instability. Infrastructure development in those areas is very difficult to implement and fund. As an example, electrification systems face major challenges such as ensuring the security of the workforce or reliability of power supply. This paper presents electrification results from an explorative methodology, where the costs and risks of conflict are explicitly considered in a geo-spatial, least cost electrification model. Discount factor and risk premium adjustments are introduced per technology and location in order to examine changes in electrification outlooks in Afghanistan. Findings indicate that the cost optimal electrification mix is very sensitive to the local context; yet, certain patterns emerge. Urban populations create a strong consumer base for grid electricity, in some cases even under higher risk. For peri-urban and rural areas, electrification options are more sensitive to conflict-induced risk variation. In this paper, we identify these inflection points, quantify key decision parameters, and present policy recommendations for universal electrification of Afghanistan by 2030.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2020
Keywords
Afghanistan, conflict, geospatial electrification, OnSSET, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-272785 (URN)10.3390/su12030777 (DOI)000519135100026 ()2-s2.0-85080971392 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20200429

Available from: 2020-04-29 Created: 2020-04-29 Last updated: 2020-05-21Bibliographically approved

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