Towards sustainable energy system options for improving energy access in Southern Africa

Keywords: sustainable, distributed generation, remote locations, energy access


Access to modern energy services is one of the pre-requisites to improved livelihood, yet the poor, particularly in developing countries, remain tied to unhealthy and inefficient traditional fuels. Renewable energy technologies are increasingly popular energy supply alternatives to fossil-based fuels in many countries. This study presents sustainable energy system implementation options for increasing energy access in developing countries, with special emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. A feasibility case study and various implementation options are presented for possible deployment of these systems. Hybrid optimization of multiple energy resources software was used to simulate and validate the proposed hybrid system design and performance. The simulation results indicate that hybrid systems would be feasible options for distributed generation of electric power for remote locations and areas not connected to the electricity grid. Such a hybrid energy system, through providing modern energy services, gives promise to free-up rural communities to engage in productive activities. The opportunity to power or facilitate productive activities such as agro-processing, fabrication and services can potentially reduce poverty.

Author Biography

Henerica Tazvinga, South African Weather Service

Henerica Tazvinga holds a PhD (Engineering) from the University of Pretoria and an MSc in Renewable Energy from the University of Zimbabwe. She has wide experience in renewable energy systems, energy efficiency and in engineering acquired over the past 25 years, having worked as a lecturer, researcher and engineer in educational, technological and industrial institutions. Prior to joining the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research South Africa where she is employed as a Hybrid Power Plant Specialist, she worked as a lecturer at Masvingo and Chinhoyi Polytechnics before joining Chinhoyi University of Technology as a lecturer in Production, Mechatronics and Fuels and Energy Engineering Departments in Zimbabwe. She also worked as a senior Measurement and Verification engineer at the University of Pretoria’s Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management HUB.  Her research interests are in energy optimization and management of off-grid and grid connected renewable energy systems. Her competences include energy modelling, energy optimization, energy management, project management, system dynamics modelling, and renewable energy system design. She participated has worked on many local and international energy projects. She reviews papers for journals such as Applied Energy, Solar Energy, IEEE Access and IET Generation, Transmission & Distribution and has published many articles on hybrid energy systems.


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