Funded by: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
January 2018 / December 2020

Geospatial analysis for electricity access monitoring and planning: accounting for productive uses and forecasting demand hotspots (GEOACCESS)

The Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations aims to guarantee universal access to sustainable, reliable, and modern energy by 2030. To date, the data available to track sub-national electrification rates in sub-Saharan Africa is limited and only periodically updated with field surveys. Assessing sub-national heterogeneity is essential to give a clearer picture of a country's electrification status and to improve the effectiveness, design and implementation of electrification plans on a local scale. This means identifying where local, national and international efforts can be concentrated to achieve most benefits. Stimulating the productive use of electricity is fundamental for sustainable socio-economic development in the context of rural electrification planning. The GEOACCESS project aims at the creation and application of geospatial modeling methods and tools for electrification, with particular attention to the promotion of the productive uses of electricity in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. The project also aims at carrying out micro and macroeconomic analysis on the impact of electrification on different sectors, with a strong focus on agriculture.

Main Results and Outputs
  • Creation of an updated and harmonized high resolution dataset for electricity access and use tiers for sub-Saharan Africa using night-time light data, population and land cover within an open-source geospatial computing framework.
  • Publication of an interactive web interface to explore new data and to constantly keep track of electrification progress.
  • Development of a geospatial model for electrification focused on the promotion of productive uses of energy. For each settlement, assessment of the potential economic benefit that electrification can bring and evaluation of the optimal technology split. In particular, the model quantifies the economic costs and benefits - at local and national level - deriving from the electrification of the following sectors: a) agriculture (irrigation), b) rural enterprises and c) education and health.
  • Estimation and comparison of investment costs for infrastructure and economic impacts related to electrification.

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Project team

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