Using Geospatial Planning to Improve Access to Electricity Livelihoods
ESMAP’s Integrated Electrification Strategies and Planning (IESP) program aims to increase the adoption and improve implementation of national electrification strategies and least-cost electrification plans. There are currently 63 countries that have more than half a million people living without access to electricity. This activity provides technical assistance and operational support for pipeline development and implementation. Its goal is to have at least 50 countries officially adopt integrated electrification strategies/least-cost plans with universal access targets, implementation schedules, modalities, and financing plans.
The program’s activities fall under five main pillars:
- Technical assistance and operational support to governments for national electrification strategies, geospatial electrification planning, pipeline development, and implementation, and preparation of geospatial-based mini grid investment portfolios.
- Improving the Global Electrification Platform and expanding its applications.
- Developing data standards for electrification planning in coordination with key partners.
- Organizing training sessions and convening relevant stakeholders to build the capacity of governments, local academia, and other stakeholders for geospatial electrification planning.
- Conducting geospatial analyses for COVID-19 response to identifying the cheapest and fastest ways to electrify health centers. The program also works to determine the health facilities in areas with mini grid potential and those that could be served with independent solutions. This will help address electrification planning requirements for the next public health crisis.
IESP team members are embedded into projects covering ESMAP’s Electricity Access Program. In addition, they collaborate closely with teams working on the Global Facility for Mini Grids, the Off-Grid Solar programs, and Improving Livelihoods and Human Capital to position energy access as a pillar of countries’ responses to the pandemic.
- IESP funded the Africa Regional Geospatial Planning Support Facility to support the least-cost electrification plans that informed the design of solar and energy access projects in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Somalia, and Tanzania (Zanzibar). In addition, the program financed the least-cost modeling exercise in these countries, which was used to prioritize investments included in these projects, which are now the key vehicles for implementing the least-cost plans. This is part of the work for World Bank teams and their government counterparts to design ambitious operations that can significantly advance the pace of electrification in Africa and globally in high access deficit countries.
- The Access to Distributed Electricity and Lighting in Ethiopia (ADELE) Project is the World Bank’s most significant intervention focused on mini- and off-grid electrification. It will expand off-grid solar markets from urban to rural areas and more vulnerable groups to provide access to electricity for nearly five million people in 990,000 households. It also combines with activities to scale up renewable energy mini grids and off-grid solar technologies while enhancing impacts through productive uses, electrifying healthcare, and other critical public facilities. In addition, the program’s inclusive designs incorporate the needs of vulnerable populations and approaches to closing gender gaps. The project will develop about 700 mini grids identified, analyzed, and prioritized through the geospatial portfolio planning approach pioneered at ESMAP through the IESP program.
- Moreover, a US$55 million component will finance the supply of stand-alone solar solutions for health and education facilities identified under the National Electrification Plan 2.0. With a total allocation of US$375 million, ADELE represents a significant investment commitment from the World Bank towards off-grid solar and mini-grid sectors – in Ethiopia and globally. Building on the earlier high-level geospatial analysis in the National Electrification Program (NEP) 2, the IESP team provided more granular data and analysis to assess the potential for the mini- and off-grid technologies to accelerate electrification efforts significantly. Since Ethiopia has the potential to scale up mini grids dramatically, thousands of potential mini grid sites across the country have been identified. In addition, big data tools have been developed to analyze, prioritize, and organize these sub-projects according to techno-socio-economic parameters for investment. The ADELE project is replicated in other high access deficit priority countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.
- IESP has provided financing and analytical support for the Liberia Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (LESSAP). The project is designed to help the government adopt the national electrification strategy based on an integrated least-cost plan. This will support the goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2030, which will require the electrification of over one million households. At least one-third of these will require mini grid or off-grid solar solutions. The government’s adoption of the strategy with this long-term vision and specific targets has enabled the World Bank to provide a correspondingly long-term commitment to Liberia’s electrification efforts. The World Bank has approved a Multi-Phase Approach (MPA) Program, consisting of three projects aiming to electrify over one million people. ESMAP also supported geospatial mapping activities, which allowed targeting of prioritized areas to promote productive uses of clean electricity in the agricultural sector, an innovation that IESP also supported.
- IESP is working in Pakistan to accelerate the operationalization of electricity access strategies. The program supports the contemporary application of national least-cost electrification analysis, geospatial mini grid portfolio planning, and energy access surveys to reduce the lead time for the preparation of significant energy access operations.
- IESP consultants helped Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) discern the catchment areas served by primary healthcare centers. In addition, they also assessed the mini grid viability in settlements hosting priority primary healthcare centers. Therefore, based on these and other criteria agreed with the REA and public health authorities, the team has selected and ranked sites for investments through the Nigeria Electrification Project. These sites will deliver electricity access to the health facilities and surrounding communities via private sector-led mini grids.
Beyond the countries mentioned above, which leveraged the least-cost plans for new operations approved in Fiscal Year 2021, the IESP program, through the regional geospatial planning facility for the Africa region, also financed the development of national electrification strategies in Chad and Mauritania, and national electrification plans in the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Somalia, Somaliland, and Zambia. In addition, it has supported high-level least-cost plans in Botswana, Burkina Faso, CAR, Eritrea, Eswatini, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, and Uganda. These plans support the implementation of existing operations and preparations for new ones.