Infoscience

Journal article

Strategies for regional integration of electricity supply in West Africa

To improve peoples’ living conditions in West African countries national governments have to considerably reinforce the electricity supply infrastructures. Rehabilitation of the existing installations and construction of new power generation facilities and transmission lines require substantial resources which are tremendously difficult to raise due to the region's specific economical and political conditions. This paper examines the long-term prospects for integrated development of the regional electricity industry and evaluates its advantages by using PLANELEC-Pro, a “bottom-up” electricity system expansion planning optimisation model. The evolution of regional electricity market is analysed on the basis of two strategies. The “autarkical” strategy consists in adequate expansion of national power generation systems and the exchanges of electricity between the countries in sub-zones. Another approach referred to as “integration” strategy is recommended in this article. It leads to fast retirement of the obsolete power plants and the integration of new investment projects at the level of whole West African sub-region. The main finding is that the regional integration strategy is capable to bring about additional benefits in terms of reduced capital expenditures, lower electricity supply cost and the enhanced system's reliability compared to the autarkical strategy.

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