New open access paper published in the Journal of Harbin Engineering University

9th February, 2024

Our Ethiopian CESET colleagues Solomon Tekelemichael Bahta and Mulualem G. Gebreslassie have just published an open access research paper entitled "The Role of Off-Grid Energy Systems for Sustainable Energy Transition in Ethiopia". 

The lack of energy in rural areas of Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa, impedes development, and economic growth. Nonetheless, the nation has been working hard to create a green legacy and use renewable energy. Due to restricted access to national energy supplies, traditional fuels like fuel wood, dung cakes, and agricultural residues are primarily used for cooking and lighting in Ethiopia. Solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal energy are among the many renewable energy sources that exist but are not yet used. Grid and off-grid energy systems can be combined to accomplish this transition.

The renewable energy-based off-grid system lowers greenhouse gas emissions, lessens the use of conventional fuels, enhances indoor air quality, and protects the ecosystem. To better understand how off-grid energy systems can support Ethiopia's energy transition, this paper analyzes the country's current energy situation, highlights the role of off-grid solutions, and suggests strategies to increase their adoption and spread. To achieve this, it examines the obligations, advantages, and difficulties associated with putting off-grid energy solutions into practice during Ethiopia's energy transition. The paper addresses the following questions: How can off-grid energy systems contribute to Ethiopia's energy transition? What are the benefits of off-grid solutions? What are the responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges associated with implementing off-grid energy systems in Ethiopia? What is the implication of the national energy policy and regulatory frameworks? How can the adoption and expansion of off-grid energy systems be boosted?

The results showed that off-grid energy systems, particularly those far from the national grid, are promising solutions to Ethiopia's energy issues. These systems can facilitate the nation's overall energy transition, enhance access to energy, and promote sustainability. Off-grid energy systems can help achieve several SDGs ((SDG 5, SDG 1, SDG 7, SDGs 3 and 4, and SDG 13). However, because of insufficient funding, ineffective laws and regulations, and low stakeholder commitment, the development of off-grid energy systems is moving more slowly than anticipated.

To promote investments in off-grid energy, the government, business community, and international organisationsmust collaborate to develop off-grid energy systems in Ethiopia. Addressing major obstacles and putting laws, rules, and incentives that benefit the whole off-grid ecosystem from importers to consumers will help hasten the energy transition. To do this rules that enable and guarantee the use of all available implementing agent’s public, private, public-private partnerships, and cooperatives must be established and enforced.

Access the paper.