US electric utilities are seeing their industry transformed. Renewable portfolio standards, nonutility generators of renewable electricity, net metering, behind-the-meter storage, and other distributed energy solutions have drawn revenues and customers away from traditional utilities and created a mismatch between electricity rates and utilities’ costs.5 In the long term, policy and technology trends, largely spurred by decarbonization, could continue to motivate customers to decrease their dependence on—or even abandon—traditional utilities in favor of third-party suppliers. There is no cure-all, but electricity rate designs must be reformed to ensure a stable transition to less carbon-intensive sources and secure utilities’ role in the future system.
Four out of nine projects approved for funding at a recent meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will support the expansion of solar in Africa, including utility-scale PV in Nigeria and embedded generation in South Africa. The Nigeria Solar Intervention Program is one of a raft of schemes backed through the US$400 million latest GCF funding round, green-lighted by its board representatives last week as they met in Songdo (Korea).
The GCF, the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) will each loan US$100 million to the US$467 million scheme, set to build 400MW of utility-scale solar in the Gulf of Guinea state. The initiative will support 14 IPP projects that have previously signed PPAs with Nigeria’s federal government.
The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for universal electrification by 2030. We are going to start this article by saying something controversial about it. Here we go. Achieving universal electrification requires subsidy. We’re not quite sure when this became controversial. But it did. And the history of electrification shows it must have been very recently.
It wasn’t controversial in 1935 when President Roosevelt implemented the world’s first rural electrification program, spending roughly 0.3 percent of U.S. GDP annually — or $18 billion in 2018 dollars — on government-subsidized loans for rural electrification. Within two decades, the proportion of electrified farms in the U.S. increased from 10 percent to over 90 percent.
“Without access to reliable, affordable electricity services, a country’s journey to self-reliance is at risk,” explains Nicole Barnes, Vice President for Learning, Energy, and Environment for Development at RTI. “Our approach will support the region’s development priorities by improving the integration of the technical and human systems that permit the exchange of power will increase competition, drive down consumer tariffs, and improve regional reliability and access to energy.”