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Planning paths for the electrification of small villages using decentralised generation: Experience from Senegal

Zaida Contreras (School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to illustrate and discuss the implications of the assessment and choice of electricity supply systems for rural communities of less than 500 inhabitants in Senegal. The paper is based on a study produced by Programme pour la Promotion de l'Electrification Rurale et l'Approvisionnement en Combustibles Domestiques, an advising body for the Senegalese Ministry of Energy and Mines.


The profitability index Taux d'Enrichissement en Capital is used as the main criterion for the economic evaluation of four technologies: diesel mini‐grids, photovoltaic, hybrid (pv‐diesel) generators, and solar home systems. Household demand is derived from real data of socio‐economic studies which serve as the basis for determining market segments defined by the distribution of the willingness to pay and the levels of service.


The simulations from nine demand cases show that high investment and/or operation expenditure create an insurmountable barrier given the limited payment capacity of rural populations, demonstrating that projects in this context are not profitable without subsidies. However, decentralised PV generation technologies are already demonstrated to be the least cost solution when the village lies further than 5.4 kilometers from the transmission grid.


This paper describes a planning path that could enable a faster implementation of rural electrification programs in remote areas considering three main elements, namely; willingness to pay, reduction of levels of supply service and support of communal management. However, the focus of the present work is mainly devoted to an analysis of the first two elements. Finally, the paper addresses the issue of how these technologies can be better implemented by national agencies and investors, with potential application outside of the Senegalese case study.



Contreras, Z. (2008), "Planning paths for the electrification of small villages using decentralised generation: Experience from Senegal", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 118-138.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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