Assessing Wood-Energy Pricing Policies in Urban Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

Burkina Faso is a landlocked, energy-dependent country, which relies heavily on firewood as its primary household fuel. In an effort to mitigate deforestation, air pollution, and lung-related illnesses caused by wood burning, the Burkinabe government has attempted many energy interventions in the hopes of transitioning the country to cleaner fuels such as LPG and kerosene. Ouedraogo (2013) used an AIDS model to explain why wood-energy pricing and substitutions policies have failed in Burkina Faso. The author calculated fuel-related income, own- and cross-price elasticities for households in Ouagadougou to determine household’s dependency on wood energy in Burkina Faso. Ouedraogo found that there was a relative inelasticity for wood-energy demand compared to the fuel price and each household’s income. This confirmed that the growing population of Ouagadougou is dependent on wood-energy. In addition, the cross-price elasticities between wood-energy and other fuels showed that there was very little substitutability between wood-energy and other fuels. These two factors have led to the failure of wood-energy pricing policies in urban Ouagadougou. However, the author argues that the use of these elasticities could allow for the Burkinabe government to identify the most cost-effective policy. Ouedraogo identifies LPG as a possible substitute for wood-energy as it exhibits the greatest cross-price elasticity and urges the government to supplement wood-energy pricing policies with the promotion of LPG cooking equipment, as it is the greatest barrier to energy transition in Burkina Faso. Continue reading

Biomass Use in Burkina Faso

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

Burkina Faso is a low-income country with a $1,399 GDP per capita (World Development Indicators, 2014). However, Burkina Faso has one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa and its GDP has consistently grown by an average of over 7% over the past 10 years. Its small $10 billion economy has constrained infrastructure building and only 13% of Burkinabe households have access to electricity (World Development Indicators, 2012). However, what has really exacerbated the energy poverty is the fact that Burkina Faso has no traditional energy sources such as gas, oil, or coal and is totally energy-dependent, relying on imports from its West African neighbors. Therefore, a large proportion of Burkinabe households use biomass such as charcoal and wood for its energy uses. Continue reading

Electricity End-Use Efficiency in Ghana

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

In the last three decades, electricity generation in Ghana has more than tripled but the demand continues to outpace the supply. Electricity efficiency is known to reduce the strain on electricity generation as it prevents wastage, reduces the electricity demand per capita, and ultimately results in a more stable and consistent electricity supply. Since 2000, the Ghanaian government has been working on consumer or end-use electricity efficiency through the use of new or improved legislation, the creation of new energy efficiency institutions, and the dissemination of adequate technology for both residential and industrial purposes. Dramani and Tewari (2013) presented a theory of electricity end-use, discussed the types of end-use technologies, and showcased factors that prevent the maximization of these technologies in Ghana. The authors discuss the effectiveness of the policies that the Ghanaian government, alongside nongovernmental organizations and international researchers, implemented to promote the dissemination and use of end-use technologies. They also discuss how the reorganization of energy efficiency organizations has transformed the electricity markets. Dramani and Tewari argue that the technologies and policies the Ghanaian government has been working on are to be applauded but concede that there are market failures that are preventing appropriate adoption by end-users. They argue that the holistic use of institutions will aid in facilitating end-use electricity efficiency in Ghana by addressing current market failures. Continue reading

Energy Efficiency in Ghana

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

Ghana has a middle-income economy with a projected GDP per capita of $3,718.40 (World Development Indicators, 2014). Policy makers in Ghana refer to it as a ‘maturing economy’ and have argued for Ghana to continue its investment in services, an efficient energy system, and mass media and telecommunications (African Development Bank). Unlike many African countries, Ghana does not rely on fossil fuels for its energy uses but instead depends on hydropower for 97% of its energy needs (World Bank Indicators, 2014). However, in 2007, Ghana discovered large reserves of natural gas and oil and there has been fear that coupled with recent hydrological shocks, which caused intermittent energy supply, Ghana will turn to its fossil fuels to be the solution to its energy problems. Continue reading

Life Cycle Inventory of Electricity Cogeneration from Bagasse in the South African Sugar Industry

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otohogile

South Africa’s sugar industry is worth over $1.11 billion and South Africa is consistently ranked as one of the top 15 sugar producing countries in the world. The sugar manufacturing process also produces thousands of tonnes of a biomass called bagasse that is being underutilized. Mashoko et al. (2013) investigated the potential for the cogeneration of steam and electricity using bagasse in South Africa’s sugar industry. The authors’ developed life cycle inventories for bagasse electricity production, which they used to evaluate the environmental impacts of cogeneration. Using data supplied by various affiliated organizations and studies, Mashoko and colleagues determined the greenhouse gases, energy ratio, non-renewable energy input, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide of a functional unit of 1 GWh of bagasse-derived electricity produced in the South African sugar industry and compared it to coal-derived electricity and bagasse-derived electricity in Mauritius. The authors found that bagasse-derived electricity performed better than coal-derived electricity in every category outlined above. Mashoko et al. argued that by increasing their boiler pressure, the sugar industry could produce cleaner electricity during the sugar life cycle by following in the footsteps of Mauritius. Bagasse-derived electricity could mitigate South Africa’s massive carbon dioxide emissions while also making the sugar industry self-sufficient and contributing to the grid. Continue reading

Factors Influencing CO2 Emissions in South Africa

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

With an average growth rate of 4.3% between 2001 and 2007, South Africa joined Brazil, Russia, India and China as the fifth member of BRICS, an association for the five emerging economies of the world in 2010. However, South Africa also joined these countries as one of the major carbon dioxide emitters, producing 1% of the world’s emissions. The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis states that early economic development will result in an increase in environmental degradation. This includes pollutants such as carbon dioxide and sulfur, which are considered by-products of economic activity. Eighty-seven percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by South Africa is a by-product of coal-fueled Continue reading

Mitigating Coal Use in South Africa


by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

South Africa has been cited as one of the most energy intensive countries in Africa due to its large mining sector and it has been difficult to tackle carbon dioxide emissions as mining contributes to 60% of South Africa’s exports (World Development Indicators, 2012).The biggest problem for South Africa has come in the form of its coal reserves, which are the largest in Africa. South Africa relies on its coal reserves for 67% of its energy use, which has resulted in South Africa becoming one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters in the world, alongside its fellow BRICS nations (World Development Indicators, 2012). However, Eskom, South Africa’s public electricity utility company, has begun investing in renewable energy and has plans for three wind farms across South Africa (2014). In the mean time, Eskom and scholars alike have been trying to promote energy efficiency and the divestment of large industries from coal. 

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