Sustainable development impacts of nationally determined contributions: assessing the case of mini-grids in Kenya

As of today, access to electricity is still unavailable to 1.1 billion people in the world, half of which live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Projections suggest that this share will increase, leaving millions of people with limited development prospects. Kenya’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the 2015 Paris Agreement includes a commitment to expand power supply, and in doing so, provide all its citizens with access to electricity. Access in rural areas, where the majority remains unconnected, is planned to be reached through different technologies. These include mini-grids, which are expected to bring multiple sustainable development benefits. However, comprehensive studies looking at synergies and trade-offs between environmental, social, and economic impacts of mini-grids are scarce. Analyzing the expected contribution of mini-grids to targets such as the NDC and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can provide evidence-based decision-support to policymakers, thus promoting well-designed and sustainable rural electrification policies. By using the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) Sustainable Development Methodology, this paper goes beyond the calculation of greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts resulting from access to modern electricity, analyzing also other environmental and socio-economic implications of 146 solar PV mini grids under construction in Kenya. Using specific targets from the SDG framework, the paper presents a combined qualitative and quantitative analysis of the extent to which mini-grids can contribute to the implementation of Kenya’s NDC and to sustainable development priorities.

Authors:Karen Holm Olsen, Mathilde Brix Pedersen, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Mirko Dal Maso, Yan Dong
Status:Accepted/In press
Published year:2019
Content type:Journal article
DOI:Visit
Orbit ID:919ab98f-adbf-49da-b1d8-2aff2e4753b0
Is current:Current
No. of pages:17