Table energy mix through The National Sustainable Renewable

Table 1. Ranking of Renewable Technologies, based on the renewable energy which can be developed on a small scale for a household or community and make economic sense (the system ranked “1” as least in contribution and  “5” having the greatest contribution)

 

 

PVSystem

Biomass(Gel fuel)

Biogas

Wind(WaterPumping)

Min/MicroHydro

IndustrialEnergyEfficiency

Criteria for RETs

1.      Bringing down/Cost of living

4

2

4

3

1

1

2.      Job Creation

2

4

2

2

3

2

3.      Health & Care

5

3

3

3

5

2

4.      Poverty Reduction

3

3

3

3

3

2

5.      Improved Quality of Education

5

1

5

1

5

1

6.      Increased Income Generation

3

3

3

3

4

1

7.      Production

4

1

3

4

4

4

8.      Food Security

4

1

5

4

3

1

9.      Quality of life

4

3

4

4

4

1

10.  Potable Water

5

1

1

5

4

1

11.  GHG Emission Impact

4

4

4

4

4

3

 

Source: Malawi Government (2001), Malawi Energy Policy White Paper.

 

Identification and Assessment of the Most Effective Technologies

After rating, the mentioned-above technologies had been selected in the following order of significance: solar PV-system (43 points), mini/micro hydro systems (40 points), biogas (37 points), wind power (36 points), biomass (26 points) and industrial efficiency (19 points).

 

Table 2. Technologies Characterized

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Solar Photovoltaic Technologies

High investment capital, lack of awareness, lack of economic incentives, lack oftrained manpower, lack of suitable financing mechanism.

Increasing the access to sustainable and efficient use of renewable energy in Malawi for a larger cross-section of rural, peri-urban population and providing a viable and sustainable contribution to the country’s energy mix through The National Sustainable Renewable Energy Programme (NSREP). Operations in the form of joint-venture initiatives could be set up to fabricate subsystem components such as regulators and assemble PV modules for market inMalawi and the rest of Southern Africa(MacVeigh, 1977). This is even more attractive given that Malawi has been the most stable country economically and politically in the region.

An issue of concern is the disposal of spent storage batteries, since nationwide mass promotion of solar home systems would involve a large disposal of spent batteries after a few years. Improperly disposing of the electrolyte, lead sediments and plates could leak into the air as PM 10 into the ground with likely contamination of soil and groundwater.Long term programme for battery recycling or safe disposal should run along side PV programmes.
 

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Mini and Micro Hydro Power Technologies

High investment cost, lack of technical and management skills, lack of spare parts.

Deliberate action must be taken by government to implement one or more mini/micro hydropower schemes at any of the Malawi sites so that there is greater awareness of the technology, test new technology and provide practical field experience to local engineers and end users.

Communities living near the potential sites of micro-hydro sites depend mainly on fuelwood as a source of energy (Lallement, Siegal and McDade, 2002). Assuming that all the projects are implemented then a totalpower of approximately 345 kW will be produced. This will contribute in the reductionof GHG emissions because more households will have access to electricity and hencemay shift to from using biomass for cooking to using electricity (a more clean energy source) for cooking.

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Biogas Technology

Cultural Beliefs,
investment costs,
lack of public awareness, poor animal husbandry practices,  poor project planning, lack of appropriate technical skill at all levels.

To harness this source of energy, there is a need to coordinate development of the technology, develop capacity, establish financial mechanism andembark on an awareness programme.

Biogas has a potential to reduce firewood consumption and thus conserve forests. Thus, biogas popularization would reduce greenhouse emission resulting from firewood replaces as well as enhance the sinks from the forests that have been saved (Wasser, 1997). In addition, release of methane from animal waste would be significantly reduced through its capture and use as a biogas fuel. This can have a vital GHG impact due to the high global warming potential of methane.

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Wind Resource and Wind Energy Technologies

High initial capital investment.
Weak and unstable local currency tends to make important machinesexpensive.
As there are so few working systems this is treated as “unproven technology.”
Poverty makes the potential users (i.e. rural population) unable to afford thesystem.
Lack of standardization.
There are no regulations and codes of installation practice.

Carry out countrywide data collection for use in possible future electricitygeneration activities.
Put in place standards, regulations and code of installation and practice.
There is also need for efforts to create a local demand in the wind marketbefore focusing efforts on the supply of local products.
Facilitate local windmill manufactures acquire modern manufacturingtechniques.
Introduce appropriate financial schemes for villagers to enable them to buylocally manufactured windmills.

Wind power typically displaces generation from fossil fuel power plants, and as a direct result, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, other air pollutants, and other environmental impacts of fossil fuel consumption. Electricity produced by a wind project results in an equivalent decrease in electricity production at another power plant (Mac Gregor, 1982). Due to its low operating costs, wind is typically used to displace generation from the most expensive power plant that would have operated otherwise. The power plants being ramped down are almost always fossil-fired units because of their high fuel costs. Wind energy is also occasionally used to reduce the output of hydroelectric dams, which allows such facilities to build up their reservoirs of water so they can be used later to replace more expensive generation from fossil-fired power plants.

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Biomass For Power Generation

Inadequate financial resources, high end price for the products and lack of technical capacity

Engaging experienced equipment manufacturers is an important step toward commissioning a new biomass plant. There are combustion technologies that run on a variety of biomass feedstocks, but some specific technologies can only operate on a limited selection, or relatively homogeneous set, of feedstocks, which can add complexity to the planning and economic viability of biomass-based power plants (Hein and Bemtgen, 1998). Biomass power plants require sustainably sourced, low-cost, adequate and predictable biomass feedstock supplies.

An incremental gain in CO2 reduction can be achieved by immediate implementation of biomass co-firing in nearly all coal-fired power plants with minimum modifications and moderate investment, making co-firing a near-term solution for the greenhouse gas emission problem (Davidson, 1999, 63). If a majority of coal-fired boilers operating around the world adopt co-firing systems, the total reduction in CO2 emissions would be substantial (Sami, Annamalai and Woolridge, 2001). It is the most efficient means of power generation from biomass, and it thus offers CO2 avoidance cost lower than that for CO2 sequestration from existing power plants. The present analysis examines several co-firing options including a novel option external (indirect) firing using combustion or gasification in an existing coal or oil fired plant (Tillman, 2000).

Category of the Technologies

Barriers

Suggested Actions to Remove Barriers

GHG Reductions

 
Energy Efficiency

Poor economic climate threaten private sector investment in the economy andthus makes companies hesitant to adopt energy efficiency technologies andintroduce conservation measures.
Low disposable income per capita discourages companies to invest in modernefficient technologies because the market for such technologies is small.
The lack of awareness and knowledge of importance of energy and the need to conserve energy retard adaptation of energy efficient technologies by both urbanand rural households, educational institutions, hospitals and other sectors.

Improving the quality of life and enabling economicand industrial growth, calls for increased amounts of usable energy, but what is also required is an increase in end-use efficiency(Merino, 2002). A very effective way of interfacing energy systems with sustainable development is through the improvements in energy efficiency in all activities that involves the exploitation, supply and demand of energy. To achieve energy efficiency end-use, different energy users must implement energy management programs. Energy Management is the process of understanding energy costs through implementing the Energy Efficiency and Earnings(3E) Strategy. The four major steps involved in Energy Management are energy Data Analysis, Energy Audit, Implementation and Monitoring.

Local governments can implement on-site renewable energy generation by installing wind turbines, solar panels, and other renewable energy generating tech­nologies (Bryers, 1996). Water and wastewater facilities with adequate land or roof area could install on-site renewable energy generators, complementing their efforts to reduce GHG emissions through energy efficiency.

Written by