Recent forecasts suggest that African countries must triple their current electricity generation by 2030. Our multicriteria assessment of wind and solar potential for large regions of Africa shows how economically competitive and low-environmental–impact renewable resources can significantly contribute to meeting this demand. We created the Multicriteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy (MapRE) framework to map and characterize solar and wind energy zones in 21 countries in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and find that potential is several times greater than demand in many countries. Significant fractions of demand can be quickly served with “no-regrets” options—or zones that are low-cost, low-environmental impact, and highly accessible. Because no-regrets options are spatially heterogeneous, international interconnections are necessary to help achieve low-carbon development for the region as a whole, and interconnections that support the best renewable options may differ from those planned for hydropower expansion. Additionally, interconnections and selecting wind sites to match demand reduce the need for SAPP-wide conventional generation capacity by 9.5% in a high-wind scenario, resulting in a 6–20% cost savings, depending on the avoided conventional technology. Strategic selection of low-impact and accessible zones is more cost effective with interconnections compared with solutions without interconnections. Overall results are robust to multiple load growth scenarios. Together, results show that multicriteria site selection and deliberate planning of interconnections may significantly increase the economic and environmental competitiveness of renewable alternatives relative to conventional generation.
Samuel Carrara holds a Master Degree cum laude in Mechanical Engineering (Major: Energy and Mechanical Plants) and a PhD in Energy and Environmental Technologies, both from the University of Bergamo.
After working as an engineer in the gas turbine field, he is now junior researcher at FEEM. His main research interests include renewable energies, sustainable development, energy policies, climate and energy economics, advanced energy systems.
The Platform for Energy Access Knowledge (PEAK) is a project partnership between RAEL and Power for All, a global campaign to accelerate the market-based growth of decentralized renewables as the key to achieving universal energy access. The campaign, established in 2014, serves as a collective voice for businesses and civil society focused on off-grid renewable solutions. The research products of this partnership will provide critical evidence needed to support widespread adoption of distributed technologies.
PEAK is an interactive information exchange platform designed to help aggregate and repackage the best research and information on energy access into compelling data-driven stories for a range of target audiences to ensure maximum visibility, usability and discoverability of that information by individuals, organizations and communities working to make energy services accessible to all.
The Power for All Campaign is directed by Kristina Skierka. PEAK research is directed by Dr. Rebekah Shirley, current Postdoctoral Researcher at RAEL.
See PEAK’s Launch Press Release, March 2016
See PEAK products here and look out for our web portal soon to come.
Recently, PEAK conducted a quantitative analysis that examines the policies of five high-growth markets striving to achieve universal energy access — India and Bangladesh in Asia, and Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia in Africa — and highlights areas for policy prioritization in Low Energy Access countries. Our research is currently under peer-review. See an unpublished, draft/working version of our manuscript and look out for more information soon.
For my website, click here.
I am currently working as Senior Researcher Associate at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources where I lead the finance research area of the GREEN-WIN project. I focus on climate and sustainability finance policies and governance arrangements in order to contribute to overcoming financial barriers to mitigation and adaptation.
Before joining UCL, I worked for the OECD (Green Growth Unit, Economics Department) as Marie-Curie Fellow, a two-year research grant funded by the European Commission. At the OECD I analysed the effectiveness of energy policies to boost energy investments in Europe. Prior to that, I worked for research centers (FEEM and ICCG) and institutions, including the Italian Association Energy Economics, where I was responsible for the Economic area (2009–2013).
During my PhD, I was visiting scholar at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab, UC Berkeley under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Kammen (2010–2011). I have worked on a range of novel ways to overcome the first-investment costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
I got my PhD in Business Administration at Polytechnic University of Marche and University of California, Berkeley (co-tutorship of doctoral thesis) with a focus on energy financing policy. My research interests include renewable and energy efficiency deployment, climate finance and energy policy.
The Sustainable Islands group at RAEL is involved in understanding the scope for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) context. We are involved in a number of projects that involve feasibility analysis, resource optimization and energy system modelling. We conduct assessments and build decision support tools for policy makers and individuals — to support the build out of sustainable, low carbon island economies. Some of our past projects are listed here:
Energy Sector Trends in the Caribbean
Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley recently published an article on the history of energy sector development in the Caribbean. The paper also looks at a number of current renewable energy projects in the region, performs cost benefit analysis and discusses opportunities for future renewable penetration in the region. Our work is highlighted in Nature Climate Change.
Shirley, R. and Kammen, D. (2012). Renewable energy sector development in the Caribbean: Current trends and lessons from history. Energy Policy. Volume 57, June 2013, Pages 244–252
Energy Efficient Low Income Housing, French Polynesia
The RAEL Sustainable Islands group was invited to collaborate with researchers from the UC Berkeley Gump Station in Moorea and the Polynesian Housing Office to conduct a integrated study on the sustainability of low income housing prototypes based on materials and thermal performance. Our team contributed the carbon footprint assessment to this study. Check out the final report above.
Carbon Footprints and Green-Job Potential in the USVI
Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley were invited to participate in the NREL Energy Development in Island Nations Initiative, launched in St. Thomas, USVI in 2010. Since then they have collaborated with NREL and various agencies in the territory to develop a household carbon calculator and green jobs estimator used as tools in public education and decision making. Kammen and Shirley also collaborated with NREL and the OAS to prepare a survey of the status of Energy Policy in various Caribbean Islands.
Shirley, R., Jones, C. and Kammen, D. (2012). A household carbon footprint calculator for islands: Case study of the United States Virgin Islands. Ecological Economics. Volume 80, August 2012, Pages 8–14
U.S. DOE (2011). Energy Policy and Sector Analysis in the Caribbean 2010 — 2011.
Shirley, R. and Kammen, D. (2012). Estimating the Potential Impact of Renewable Energy on the Caribbean Job Sector. RAEL Report 2012.1.
Green Jobs in Grenada
RAEL collaborated with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on a road map for sustainable economic growth in Grenada. Professor Kammen and graduate student Rebekah Shirley prepared a chapter on green job potential while ERG alumni Dan Prull prepared a chapter on future energy options. The report was published for the Rio +20 Summit.
UN DESA (2012). Road Map on Building a Green Economy for Sustainable Development in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Grenada.
Emerging economies will account for more than 90 percent of new energy-generation capacity by 2035, and Latin America is no exception to this trend. In the last 40 years, the region’s primary energy demand has more than doubled. In a global environment of increasingly volatile fuel prices, emerging technologies, and climate-change impacts, the continued increase in demand presents challenges and opportunities to Latin America and the Caribbean. To manage the next phase of development, the region’s governments will need to develop new energy sources and pay more attention to sustainability.
Kammen and students (Juan Pablo Carvallo, Diego Ponce de Leon Barido and Rebekah Shirley) discussed strategies to design and evaluate programs for managing energy and other resources in the region both as a speaker panel for the Center for Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley and in a new publication on integrated tools for building low-carbon economies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our researchers also delve into the specific case study of Nicaragua along with Fulbright Nexus Fellows 2012–2013. This group explored three case studies at the national, regional and community levels in Nicaragua: breadfruit and food insecurity; rainwater harvesting on the Pacific coast; and, bio-energy production from agricultural waste. This research shows the increasing need to see the climate, land, energy, and water (CLEW) sectors as interrelated, and to proactively plan policy with these interconnections in mind. Nicaragua’s opportunities for sustainable development within a CLEW nexus framework are sufficiently large that the country could well become an example of wise natural resource use for Latin America and the world.
Press release on our work with biogas digesters in Mexico:
Fusion, March 24, 2014. These students have bold ideas on how to make renewable energy more accessible.
Article, full video and photos from our panel discussion with CLAS:
Center for Latin American Studies. February 10, 2014. Sustainable Energy Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Read more about our involvement in the Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program 2012–2013.
Kenji is a Ph.D. student with the Goldman School of Public Policy and a researcher in the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. His current research interests include empirical studies and quantitative modeling on the effectiveness of renewable energy policies in developing and developed countries for effective decision making. He is also interested in developing better tools for quantitative assessment of the multiple benefits of climate policies such as energy access, job creation, and technology development and transfer.
Kenji has more than 10 years of professional experiences in the area of Japan’s and international environmental policies as a Deputy Director for Market-based Climate Policy of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, a Managing Director of the Global Environment Centre Foundation, etc. For example, he has spearheaded and managed various government energy incentive programs for funding energy efficient and renewable energy projects in Japan as well as in Southeast Asia and Africa under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, bilateral cooperation scheme between 14 countries and Japanese Government. He has also initiated and led international cooperation initiatives on environmental policy planning, capacity building, and technology transfer focused on low-carbon city development with Japanese municipalities for Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Vientiane (Lao PDR), and other cities. He has negotiated at COP 18 and 19 of the UNFCCC as an international negotiator of the Japanese delegation on technology transfer. Outside of environmental policies, he is a creator and a leading trainer of policy analysis training courses for Japanese policy professionals.
He holds an MPP with the Smolensky Prize (the Best Advanced Policy Analysis (master’s thesis)) from UC Berkeley, for which Dan Kammen was his APA advisor. Kenji has a MEng and a BEng in Chemical Engineering from University of Tokyo.