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Renewable Energy for Rural Development in Ethiopia: The Case for New Energy Policies and Institutional Reform

W. Wolde-Ghiorgis,

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Technology,


Abstract

This article argues the case for introducing new energy policies in Ethiopia that will ensure energy initiatives for rural development meet the desired expectations.  A review of the rural energy sector in Ethiopia is presented.  Rural communities have for centuries relied solely on traditional biomass energy sources, human and animal power. In addition, sample findings show that the basic stock of traditional biomass energy resources is dwindling fast for two reasons: one, due to rapid population growth; and two, due to the absence of energy substitutes for traditional energy sources. Renewable energy technologies (RETs) and other modern energy technologies are almost non-existent. In terms of budgetary allocation, rural energy development has not received a fair share of public investment in comparison to education, rural road construction and health. A key policy recommendation made in this article is the need for commitment from concerned authorities to the use of renewables for spurring rural development. This could be through increasing the budget allocation to rural energy, which is currently negligible.  Other policy recommendations include the modification of existing institutional frameworks for rural energy delivery, and the design and implementation of appropriate rural energy initiatives suitable for productive activities and sustainable development.


Keywords: Renewables; Rural; Ethiopia; Institutional framework

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