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Universal Access to Electricity in Burkina Faso: Scaling-up Renewable Energy Technologies

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M Moner-Girona, K Bódis, T Huld, I Kougias, S Szabó
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This journal article published in Environmental Research Letters describes the status quo of the power sector in Burkina Faso—and its limitations—and it develops a new methodology that through spatial analysis processes with the aim to provide a possible pathway for universal electricity access. Following the SE4All initiative approach, it recommends the more extensive use of distributed renewable energy systems to increase access to electricity on an accelerated timeline. The paper details the methodology and findings of a geographic information systems (GIS) tool, the aim which is to provide support to the national government and development partners to define an alternative electrification plan. Burkina Faso proves to be paradigm case for the methodology as its national policy for electrification is still dominated by grid extension and the government subsidizing fossil fuel electricity production. However, the results of the analysis suggest the current grid extension is becoming inefficient and unsustainable. Results of the analysis also suggest Burkina Faso’s rural electrification strategy should be driven by local renewable resources to power distributed mini-grids. The authors find that this approach would connect more people to power more quickly, and would reduce fossil fuel use that would otherwise be necessary for grid extension options.