Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of energy access in the world, as only 14% of its 82 million peoplehave a direct supply of electricity in their homes. 83% of the population (66 million) live in rural areas,where the figure is below 1%. However, the Ethiopian government is aiming to achieve middle incomestatus by 2025 and has a vision to become a regional hub for renewable energy in East Africa, asEthiopia has significant hydro, geothermal, solar and wind resources. In fact, Ethiopia alreadygenerates 98% of its electricity from renewable sources and wind power is already being exploited atthe utility scale, with three wind farms now feeding power into the Ethiopian electricity grid.
With the exception of a few key components, SWTs can be manufactured from materials that areavailable in urban centres around the world and as a result have the potential to enhance localeconomies, build local capacity for operation and maintenance, including a local supply chain for spareparts, along with trained mechanics and engineers who are able to perform repairs. This marketthe assessment was commissioned by MercyCorps in order to answer the following research question:What role (if any) could Small Wind Turbines (SWTs) play in the electrification of remote communitiesin the Somali, Afar and Southern Oromia regions of Ethiopia?The market assessment was carried out by Wind Empowerment, an association for the developmentof locally manufactured small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification. This report applies anopen-source methodology currently under development by the association’s Market AssessmentWorking Group and draws heavily on the collective experience of its 40+ members in over 25 differentcountries. The methodology uses a combination of techno-economic and spatial modeling, tocompare SWTs with the other most viable off-grid power generation technologies using the LevelisedCost of Energy (LCoE) as the key metric. This study investigates the scalability of a 1kW SWT designedto meet the demands of a rural commercial centre by comparing four power generation systemarchitectures:
The study is conducted on the basis that a micro-business would be established in the most viableregion and the modelling takes into account the costs associated with local manufacture orimportation of the various system components, as well as the installation and operation/maintenanceof the energy systems. The model tests the sensitivity of the outcome to variations in the economicparameters in order to reflect the different scenarios in which the system could be employed (e.g.accessible vs. very remote sites) and future price trends (e.g. the falling global price of PV). Thesensitivity of the outcome of the model with respect to the range of energy resources typically foundacross Ethiopia was also tested and plotted using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in order toassess where SWTs are economically viable.
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