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Rural electrification and poverty alleviation: Lessons from Zimbabwe Presented at the EUEI facilitation workshop and policy dialogue 26-29 October 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Rural electrification and poverty alleviation: Lessons from Zimbabwe Presented at the EUEI facilitation workshop and policy dialogue 26-29 October 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rural electrification and poverty alleviation: Lessons from Zimbabwe Presented at the EUEI facilitation workshop and policy dialogue 26-29 October 2004 Ouagadougou Maxwell C Mapako

2 Presentation structure Country introduction Background to rural electrification Selected fuel use patterns and the poor, comments on South African and Zimbabwean patterns Off-grid electrification and lessons (there are more lessons from off-grid electrification initiatives)

3 Zimbabwe selected facts Population ~13m Area 398 000 sq km Grid extension and sales of solar home systems nationwide JICA Study Project was national but much more limited in geographical coverage Chinese donation was in one locality north of Harare.

4 Rural Electrification (RE) background Colonial legacy of neglect of the rural poor 1890-1980 Independence in 1980. New government faced with high expectations Thrust to electrify all rural growth points & service centres started in the early 1980’s 1995 RE Masterplan Study (ADB-funded), approved by Cabinet in 1997 GEF funded Solar PV project ran 1993-1998 JICA Energy Service Company (PV) study 1997-2002 2002 new Electricity Act passed: privatisation of electricity utility (ZESA), setting up of RE Agency with own board having majority of Provincial Administrators RE Agency embarked on the Expanded RE Programme, funded by levy on electricity tariffs (rose 1%-6% in last 5 years) and government allocations

5 Expanded rural electrification programme in Zimbabwe Rural electrification agency (REA) separate from utility Levy proceeds directly available to REA, does not go to treasury Criteria for rural centres include proximity to grid and economic potential Windows for community groups Utility can procure hardware for productive rural end use, eg. grinding mills, welding machines, oil presses… Utility can provide financing for the equipment or end user can make own arrangements. This facility has just started to be implemented

6 Electrification and the poor: Zimbabwe High income households dominate the grid and solar electrified categories. Poor unable to satisfy project screening criteria Poor households show the opposite trend, being mostly unelectrified

7 Main cooking energy source Grid-electrified rural households generally use electricity for cooking The non- electrified (poorer) households use wood for cooking

8 Fuels used by grid-electrified rural households in SA (Limpopo) Grid electricity is used predominantly for lighting, radio and TV Thermal needs are still met with wood Other fuels insignificant

9 Rural electrification approaches in South Africa and Zimbabwe South Africa grid Includes households Govt subsidy for h/holds Plans not easily available Comparative less focus on productive end uses South Africa off-grid Predominantly fee for service in concession areas Also sales Zimbabwe grid Focus on rural centres and institutions 6% levy on tariff for rural elect Plans, criteria published Specific measures to support productive end uses Zimbabwe off-grid Predominantly sales outside any projects Also fee for service & donation

10 Main lighting fuel: Zimbabwe rural households Poorer rural households depend on paraffin for lighting Grid and solar electrified households use electric lighting

11 What do S African rural households with no grid/SHS power use? Wood meets thermal needs Paraffin and candles used for lighting Batteries used for radio and TV (car batteries due to higher power)

12 What household energy source do the S African rural poor prefer to switch to? Preference for grid electricity very pronounced for the common needs Few poor households have TV or fridge Space heating not very important in warm climate

13 Environmental benefits of SHSs – the other side of the coin How many solar systems installed compared to the investment in the project? Could other options not have provided a more long-term and reliable access for less or similar investment? What percentage of households has managed to switch completely from using candles and paraffin for lighting? What are the candle or paraffin consumption levels of those who have switched partially? Many promotional environmental calculations is to use full–switch assumptions. What is the average downtime of the solar systems? Whenever the systems are not working the users revert to their paraffin lamps or candles For those systems working, what percentage is working fully and partially? Lead and Mercury hazards: How are old batteries and light tubes disposed of? Recycling provisions?

14 Long term experiences with solar home systems The power capacity of solar home systems renders them unable to contribute significantly to most productive activities Maintenance often becomes the major challenge after end of projects – localised maintenance capacity essential Clustering of installations will facilitate maintenance & fee collection Need for capacity building for local manufacturers - local components may be less reliable Use local components as far as possible (especially balance of system) – long term availability of imported components may not be guaranteed Shortage of correct components will lead to substitution with any available equivalents eg. car batteries and incandescent lights – solar home system severely compromised Flexibility is needed since rural population is heterogeneous - one size fits all approach in fee for service projects led to client frustration Have clear contracts - revision of fees in fee for service projects problematic

15 Thank you for your attention!

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