12. International Renewable Energy
C. Renewable Energy in Developing and Emerging Countries
In the developing regions of the world, several countries are aggressively pursuing electrification programs and will likely be the examples that other countries follow as they develop and implement electrification programs in the future. If countries like India, China, Brazil, and South Africa are successful in their efforts to meet significant portions of their energy needs through renewable energy technologies, the prospect that other countries will follow a similar path will increase substantially.
As democratization and economic liberalization efforts move forward, many African nations are attempting to improve their energy supply resources and expand their power systems to rural areas populated by millions of poor people without access to electricity. The long-term prospects for renewable power systems in these areas are optimistic, as efforts are being made to reverse the urban migration trend by installing sustainable power sources that are essential to the economic health of the rural areas.
- South Africa: Distribution remains the major challenge to providing all of South Africa with electricity. To address this problem, the National Electrification Forum (NEF) has devised a strategy to accelerate grid extensions and provide electricity through cost-effective standalone power sources. Some forms of renewable energy are cost-effective when developed with backup diesel power in the remote areas of the country. The prospects for solar thermal and photovoltaic applications in South Africa are particularly favorable, because the country is well endowed with solar resources. For example, the annual 24-hour global solar radiation average is about 220 watts per square meter in South Africa, compared with only 150 watts per square meter in parts of the United States. In cases where the application is more than 5 kilometers from the grid, the cost of photovoltaic installations is competitive with grid extension costs. South Africa imports both solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic cell and module systems manufactured in the United States. In 1993, it accounted for about 85 percent of the solar thermal collectors exported by U.S. firms to Africa.
Recently, in a joint venture with a U.S. company, South Africa has begun producing photovoltaic energy systems. The prospects for wind energy projects in South Africa are also favorable because it has good wind resources in certain regions of the country, especially along its extensive coastline. Although wind energy systems are still not cost-effective as compared with coal-fired electricity on large-scale projects, small-scale applications■ especially, hybrid configurations of wind near photovoltaic or diesel generation sites■may be more cost-effective. Unlike Latin America and parts of Asia, South Africa does not have a large hydroelectric potential because of its semi-arid climate and periodic droughts. In addition to South Africa, the following African countries are importers of photovoltaic cell and module systems manufactured in the United States: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.(7)
Most of the fastest-growing emerging economies are located in Asia. In those countries with strong economic growth, there will be an increasing effort to install new electricity generation capacity to meet the energy demands accompanying strong growth and to supply electricity to rural areas now off the grid. The absence of well-established grids in most of the vast rural areas of Asia makes standalone renewable energy applications and "village-grid" renewable applications the best prospects for electrification. EIA's forecasts estimate a 3-percent annual increase in renewable energy consumption between 1990 and 2010 for Asia excluding China.(8)
The two major emerging markets for renewable energy in Asia are China and India. Near-term developments in those countries will likely influence the use of renewables in the rest of Asia. Indonesia also has a significant number of installed photovoltaic systems in remote areas, and cells and modules manufactured in the United States have been imported by India, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.(9)
- China: China is rich in hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass resources.(10) At the end of 1993, the Chinese government estimated that it had approximately 77 megawatts of installed renewable capacity, with wind and geothermal accounting for the largest portions. China's General Development Plan expects this total to increase to 9,830 megawatts by the year 2020, with wind power accounting for 86 percent of the installed nonhydroelectric renewable energy capacity (Table 44). EIA's renewable energy consumption forecast for China estimates a 6-percent annual increase between 1990 and 2010.(11) In 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy and China's Ministry of Agriculture signed a 5-year agreement on renewable energy cooperation.
- Wind: China currently has 30 megawatts of installed wind capacity, with small household wind turbines accounting for 17 megawatts, and 14 wind farms with 95 wind turbines accounting for 13 megawatts. The introduction of foreign investment for project development will be encouraged through joint ventures, leading to a projected average annual growth rate of 130 to 150 megawatts of wind capacity. China also expects to manufacture wind turbines by 2000.
- Photovoltaics: Photovoltaic technology has been widely used in remote standalone electricity applications (e.g., for telecommunication) and is also being used to supply electricity to households in remote locations. At the end of 1993, 3.3 megawatts of solar cells were in use in China. In the years ahead, China plans to use photovoltaics mainly in remote mountainous districts and islands along the coasts, where electricity for households is not available. China forecasts that, by the year 2000, photovoltaics will supply electricity to approximately 6 million of the 120 million rural residents currently without electricity.
- Ocean: As of 1993, China had 10 small tidal power stations totaling 6 megawatts of generating capacity. In the near term, China feels that tidal energy should be developed only on a relatively large scale.
- Geothermal: China's first low-temperature geothermal power plant was built in the Fengshun Guangdong province in 1979. At the end of 1993, approximately 30 megawatts of installed geothermal capacity existed in China.
- Hydropower: China has a large hydroelectric potential and an ambitious expansion program underway.(12)
Currently, there are more than 150 hydroelectric projects under construction in China. The most significant is the Three Gorges dam along the Yangtze River, which would be the world's largest, with an estimated cost of $20 billion and an installed capacity of 18 gigawatts.
- India: Although India is experiencing strong economic growth and rising energy demand, its electricity supply is plagued by low plant load factors and inadequate plant availability.(13) In order to meet its growing energy needs, India has adopted a blend of thermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear sources for power generation, as well as such alternative energy sources as solar, wind, and tidal energy, which will total approximately 35,000 megawatts of installed capacity by the year 2000.(14) The Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) has laid out a series of financial incentives to attract investors.
- Wind: Wind energy is one of the new technologies most strongly supported by the Indian government, which has developed a comprehensive strategy and program for harnessing wind energy, including the creation of a wind resource data base, indigenous technology development and field testing, demonstration projects, incentives for commercialization, and technical training. Over the past decade, the MNES has constructed a wind map of India and has identified 69 locations where wind velocities are high and constant enough to ensure profitable electricity generation. The total power generation capacity in those locations is estimated to exceed 20,000 megawatts.(15)
- Solar: Second to wind power generation, solar power has a high potential in India. U.S. manufacturers of solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic cells and modules count India as an important export market.
- Hydropower: Small hydroelectric projects also have a strong potential in India. Studies indicate that these projects are almost as profitable as wind energy power generation. The potential for small hydroelectric power generation is estimated to be over 20,000 megawatts. Under various programs, 142 projects, totaling 105 megawatts of capacity, have been implemented, and another 155 projects with 196 megawatts total capacity are in progress.(16)
Indonesia: With over 6,000 islands having remote villages that are not connected to the electricity grid, Indonesia's geography is ideally suited for standalone renewable applications, particularly photovoltaic systems. Some 25,000 photovoltaic systems have been installed with government funds or assistance from foreign organizations and through hire-purchase by the users themselves.(17)
Total electric capacity additions in Latin America(18) from 1990 to 2000 are expected to be 41.6 gigawatts (Table 45), of which 85 percent is expected to be hydroelectric.(19) Most of the capacity additions will be concentrated in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, and Venezuela. EIA's renewable energy consumption forecasts estimate 3-percent annual growth for Canada and Mexico between 1990 and 2010.(20)
Financing is a major concern as Latin America attempts to increase its electric power capacity. This has driven Latin American governments, many of which maintain strong control of the energy sector, toward forming partnerships with private capital and separating the regulatory role of the government from the operational role of energy companies.(21) Along with regulatory reform, the increased ■market access■ resulting from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should make capital more accessible for renewable projects planned in Latin America.(22)
Environmental concerns are also driving Latin America's electricity generation agenda. The environmental benefits
of many renewable energy technologies, along with their decreasing costs and appropriateness to many of Latin America's rural areas, ensure that the prospects for renewable energy projects will remain favorable in the years ahead. Prospects for renewable energy for some specific countries in the Americas, including Canada, are summarized below.
- Brazil: Brazil provides some of the best prospects for renewable energy projects in Latin America. The combination of economic growth and regulatory reform in the energy sector is providing a fertile environment for renewables. Hydropower currently provides 95 percent of Brazil's total energy, and its potential is believed to be 261 gigawatts.(23) Before the year 2000, Brazil expects to complete the expansion of two major hydroelectric plants with a combined capacity of 20 gigawatts.(24) Brazil's large biomass resources, especially sugar cane residues, also make the prospects favorable for thermal electric projects in the years ahead. The potential for solar and wind energy is also good in Brazil, where about 20 million people live without electricity. Joint projects, such as the U.S.-Brazilian Renewable Energy Electrification Project (REEP), are now bringing electricity to rural homes.
- Canada: Canada has pursued extensive development of hydroelectric power resources since the 1970s.(25) Beyond hydroelectricity, only modest development of renewable resources has taken place. For example, in 1992 Canada consumed less than 30 million kilowatthours of nonhydroelectric renewable resources. Government funding for renewable energy is much lower today than it was a decade ago due to fiscal restraint polices. However, significant research and development programs remain in the areas of solar and photovoltaics. Government support for renewable energy is carried out through the funding and research and development programs of the Efficiency and Alternative Energy Technology Branch (EAETB) of the Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET).
In the private sector, there are about 15 small and medium-sized Canadian companies that manufacture solar
products. Sales in 1991 and 1992 reached an estimated $2 million (U.S. dollars). The market for passive solar
technologies, such as high-performance windows, was estimated at about 1.2 million square meters in 1991. Total photovoltaic sales estimates for 1993 are $12 million, but most of the activity is in distribution rather than manufacturing. The most common application is standalone systems for remote areas. Total installed photovoltaic capacity in Canada is about 800 kilowatts.
- Mexico: The government of Mexico places great importance on the development of renewable energy. Through the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico's only utility, the government has developed geothermal and hydroelectric resources. By 1989, these two renewable resources had shares of 3 and 32 percent of Mexico's total installed generating capacity, respectively.(26) In addition, standalone photovoltaic systems have been installed in more than 60,000 locations. Although there was a marked decrease in imports of photovoltaic system in 1995 due to the ongoing financial crisis, Mexico's prospects for near-term recovery, close links to U.S. exporters, abundance of renewable resources, and government and private sector commitment to renewable technologies are likely to translate into continued growth of renewable resource use in the near future.
In the Americas, the following countries are importers of solar thermal collectors manufactured in the United States: Antigua, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Trinidad. The following countries are importers of photovoltaic cell and module systems manufactured in the United States: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Caribbean countries, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.(27)
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