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Integrated Rural Energy Planning

Integrated Rural Energy Planning

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Integrated Rural Energy Planning

383 pagine
Oct 22, 2013


Integrated Rural Energy Planning presents a series of case studies and guidelines for developing integrated rural energy centers, particularly in the Third World. This text highlights technical cooperation and information flow between developing countries.
This book consists of 11 chapters and begins with a brief overview of the impact of rural development and rural energy sources on the environment, along with the needs of and strategies for integrated rural development. The chapters that follow describe integrated rural energy systems in selected countries, such as Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Nigeria, and Colombia. The experimental rural energy center established in Niaga Wolof, Senegal and the integrated field project in Basaisa village, Egypt are also discussed. The final chapter offers guidelines for planning, development, and operation of integrated rural energy projects.
This monograph will appeal to energy specialists, policymakers, and others who are interested in constructing, operating, and maintaining integrated rural energy centers in developing countries.
Oct 22, 2013

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Integrated Rural Energy Planning - Elsevier Science



The Duke of Edinburgh, in his message to the World Energy Conservation Month in October 1979, said that: ‘One of Nature’s laws, publicized by Parkinson, is that demand always rises to meet supply. Unfortunately he failed to state what happens when supply fails to meet demand’. The comment is especially relevant to the rural areas of developing countries, where availability of energy is a real problem and often a constraint to further development.

Because individual villages contain limited populations and are widely dispersed all over a country, economically it is often not possible to connect them all to a national electric grid, even if such a grid existed and if enough electricity could be produced for the country as a whole. Furthermore, even though many countries claim that a high percentage of villages has been electrified, the reality is often different. Because of target-oriented planning, a village is considered to be electrified if a transmission line passes nearby. Coverage within a village may not be a serious consideration. Thus, it is not unusual to find villages which have been electrified for several years according to the national statistic, but which contain only a few street lamps and equally few families with electricity in their houses.

Two other common sources of energy in rural areas at present are fuelwood for cooking – and in some cold areas, for heating – and kerosene for lighting. Animal dung and agricultural residues are also used for cooking. Availability and per capita use of fuelwood vary from one country to another, depending on a variety of interrelated factors such as population density, forest cover, alternative energy sources available, economic status of people, and management policies. The diversity of the situation can best be explained by comparing the situation in the various countries of the Indian subcontinent. For example, Bhutan’s national per capita average annual fuelwood consumption of 3 m³ (2.5 tons) is nearly 15 times that of Pakistan, six times that of Sri Lanka and more than twice that of neighbouring Nepal.

While fuelwood availability and use vary from one country to another, one global trend is visible in nearly all developing countries: the price of fuelwood has been rising at a faster rate than the rate of inflation during the past five years or more. Thus it is increasingly difficult for the rural poor to find the economic means to purchase fuelwood. The policy makers are generally aware of this, but so far the problem has not received the priority it deserves.

In his Foreword to our book, Dr Mostafa Kamal Tolba, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has eloquently pointed out how scarcity of fuelwood starts a vicious social–economic–environment–development cycle, with serious long-term repercussions for the countries concerned. Ever since its inception, UNEP has been interested in how to provide energy to the rural areas of developing countries in an environmentally sustainable manner. UNEP pioneered the concept of the integrated rural energy centre with its pilot project in Sri Lanka, which is discussed in detail in this book. Since the inception of the centre in Sri Lanka, many countries and international organizations have started to build such centres with similar objectives. The meeting in Cairo, cosponsored by the International Society for Ecological Modelling, United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations University, brought together leading international authorities connected with such integrated rural energy centres to discuss and objectively review the developments thus far. The book includes selected case studies prepared for this meeting, and a set of guidelines based on the combined experiences of the participants on the problems and prospects for developing various types of centre. This book will be of direct interest to all those energy specialists who are interested in constructing, operating and maintaining integrated rural energy centres in developing countries.

Yehia ElMahgary,     Head, Energy Unit, and Senior Programme Officer in charge of Energy, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya

Asit K. Biswas,     President, International Society for Ecological Modelling, Oxford, England


Yehia ElMahgary and Asit K. Biswas,     Dr Yehia ElMahgary is Senior Programme Officer in charge of Energy, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), PO Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Asit K. Biswas is President of the International Society for Ecological Modelling, 76 Woodstock Close, Oxford OX2 8DD, UK

Rural energy is and continues to be primarily solar energy, available through photosynthetic conversion of crops (food and fodder), fuelwood, animal dung and agricultural residues. Over 80% of rural energy in the developing countries is derived from wood and animal wastes, and is primarily used for cooking and agriculture. Most of the energy used is non-commercial and produced by people themselves to meet their own needs. Rural energy, in other words, is not a commodity exchanged through a market, but a use value. Recognition of this characteristic is central to the task of rural energy planning and assessment.

Rural energy sources and the environment

Rural energy use takes place in the context of complex, interrelated physical, economic and social systems. Energy flows exhibit many interconnections. Most traditional fuel resources serve many purposes. Leaves and twigs may serve as animal fodder or fuelwood; the trees themselves may be harvested for fuelwood or building materials; residues from the trees may be spread or used as fertilizer. Crop and animal residues also have competing uses: new straw for animal feed, compost, fuel or soil nutritioner; and dung for fertilizer, fuel or feedstock. There is often a delicate resource balance within a rural area. Any resource adjustments – for example, forest clearing for agriculture, excessive wood cutting for fuel, etc – imply altered resource availabilities.

Fuelwood comes overwhelmingly from local sources, and this puts growing pressure on the trees, bushes and shrubs near the centres of population. Long before the demand for fuelwood leads to complete destruction of the tree cover, it can have a markedly degrading environmental effect. Excessive pruning of its branches may reduce a tree’s capacity for growth; removal of the more easily felled younger trees may reduce the regenerative ability of the forest; excessive opening of the canopy through the removal of too many trees can render the forest susceptible to damage from wind and sun and can affect wildlife; the removal of all residues, even to the point of sweeping up the leaves, removes the nutrients that should return to the soil to maintain its fertility; removal of stumps, bushes and shrubs can destroy much of what remains of the soil’s protective cover and binding structure. Eventually, the whole forest may disappear.

The removal of tropical forests has been estimated to occur at a rate of about 11 million ha/year. Most of this deforestation occurs (and will continue to occur) in the developing countries, whose humid tropical forests and open woodlands are steadily being felled and converted to farmland and pasture. This trend is impelled by several forces: the expansion of agricultural frontiers into forested areas in order to supply food as populations increase; the demand for fuelwood and charcoal; the demand for tropical forest products by industrialized nations; and the demand within the developing countries for paper and other forest-derived products as incomes rise.

In the developing regions where fuelwood is most needed (and demand will increase by 2000), situations have evolved where fuelwood has become quite scarce. Acute scarcity in 1980 involved about 90 million rural people in developing countries [3]. Minimum energy needs are not met, and energy consumption is below minimum levels. Such situations prevail in Africa, mainly in the arid and semi-arid areas south of the Sahara, in East and South-east Africa and in the mountainous areas; in Asia, in the Himalayas and the hills of South Asia; and in Latin America, mostly in the Andean Plateau and the arid areas of the Pacific Coast. Also, some 150 million people live in major urban centres situated in rural areas which already have a fuelwood deficit. Under prevailing ecological conditions and with expanding demographic growth, any large-scale forestry effort to improve the fuelwood supply is likely to be very costly and to offer only a partial solution to increasing energy needs. Deficits in 1980 involved 833 million rural people, in areas where populations are still able to meet their minimum energy needs, but only by harvesting in excess of sustainable fuelwood supply. Populations in such situations in Africa amount to 146 million, mainly in the savanna areas in West, Central and South-east Africa. In North Africa and the Middle East, 70 million rural people have a fuelwood deficit. In Asia, 550 million people in rural areas and small urban centres, mainly in the Indu Ganges plains of Central Asia and in South-east Asia, are affected. In Latin America, 82 million rural people are affected, mostly in the semi-arid and arid areas. An additional rural population of 800 million are living under conditions of prospective fuelwood deficit. (Prospective deficit situations are those where the availability of supplies exceeded demand in 1980, but where, if current trends of depletion of fuelwood resources continue, deficits will occur by

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