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Energy system development pathways for Ethiopia (PATHWAYS) project publishes final report

Ethiopia has an abundance of renewable energy resources, particularly hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The country’s power system, which is currently reliant on hydropower, needs to be developed to meet its growth ambitions, provide electrification to all consumers by 2025, and ensure long-term energy security.

The complex and resource-intensive nature of energy systems, and their development, make planning critically important. Planning and decision-making can be informed through the use of energy system models to explore possible future pathways and their associated implications.

Led by the Energy Institute at University College London (UCL), the PATHWAYS project sought to explore pathways for Ethiopia’s electricity system to 2065 with the use of open-source energy system models and to develop local capacity to use and build on those models.

The final report provides the synthesized findings of the project, highlights ways to build on its activities, and answers three research questions:

  • What is the long-term future of Ethiopia’s power sector, in meeting the country’s growth ambitions and regional needs under Agenda 2065?
  • What global lessons can Ethiopia learn to effectively govern the utilization of decentralized mini-grids in its electrification strategy?
  • What strategic actions will enable effective household uptake of energy-efficient technologies under the Ethiopian Energy Authority’s Energy Efficiency Program?

During the project, the team conducted workshops and interviews with stakeholders, drawing upon local expertise to shape the narratives and boundaries on the possible futures for Ethiopia’s electricity system, and modeled electricity system pathways for four alternatives to the Business-as-usual (New Policies) scenario; High Ambition, Ambition, Big Business, and Slow Down.

Alongside this, the team carried out a household survey on energy consumer behavior. As part of efforts to upgrade the country’s power system, the Ethiopian government has been reforming its market structures, notably electricity tariffs, to ensure electricity production cost recovery. In addition, part of the government’s energy efficiency program at the household level has included promoting efficient technologies for lighting and injera baking and other cooking needs, and the discouragement of inefficient technology adoption. The team surveyed 1,400 urban households to identify the impacts of these measures on household behavior and efficient technology adoption.

In September 2021, the team produced a separate report on households’ investment in energy efficiency and coping strategies for the electricity tariff increase. Also published on Zenodo, it includes policy recommendations for the adoption of energy-efficient technologies.

As part of the PATHWAYS project, the team also explored the possible impacts of efficient technology on various scenarios of electricity demand growth in Ethiopia’s residential sector using the Low Emissions Analysis Platform (LEAP).

In addition, four capacity development workshops were conducted, training students and academics, and staff of the government and not-for-profit and private sector on the use of the Open-Source Energy System Modelling framework (OSeMOSYS).

The project outputs have been disseminated to local and international audiences through conference presentations, workshops, policy briefs, and scientific journals. Furthermore, the team’s capacity development activities have laid the foundation for Ethiopia’s modelers, researchers, students, and government staff to advance the work started through the project.

[Energy Economic Growth]

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