Electrification

Electrification

Energy is certainly one of the major challenges the world faces today, touching all aspects of our lives. It plays a pivotal role as a driver of the factors involved in a countries production industry [Khobai, et al., 2016]. Between the years of 1974 and 2019, global gross electricity production increased more than fourfold from 6287 TWh to 27004 TWh. The percentage rate of electrification has climbed steadily from 73% in the year 2000 to 86% in the year 2016.Over the last two decades, millions of people have gained access to modern energy with the highest numbers in China and India. This rise is depicted in figure below.

Figure: Global electrification rate [IEA, 2017]

Despite these growths, energy access is still a major challenge especially in Sub-Sahara Africa and some parts of Asia. This still means that approximately 1.06 billion people are without electricity in 2016 [IEA, 2017] up from a 1.5 billion in 2008 [IEA, 2009]. Approximately 84% of those without electricity access reside in rural areas and more than 95% of those living without electricity are in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia. Urban areas tend to be more electrified, but most of the world’s population without access to electricity lives in rural areas.

Table: Percentage of population with electricity [IEA, 2017]

Country or region

Electrification Rate

Population

without

access

Global

Urban

Rural

million

2000

2005

2010

2016

2016

2016

2016

World

73%

76%

82%

86%

96%

73%

1 060

Developing countries

64%

69%

76%

86%

94%

70%

1 060

Africa

34%

39%

43%

52%

77%

32%

588

Sub-Saharan Africa

23%

27%

32%

43%

71%

23%

444

South Africa

66%

81%

83%

85%

87%

83%

8

Despite significant progress in sub-Saharan Africa, 590 million people – roughly 57% of the population– remain without access making it the largest concentration of people in the world without electricity access [IEA, 2017] as efforts have often struggled to keep pace with population growth. This means that only four in 10 Africans have access to reliable power supply.

Figure: Population without access to electricity in Africa by country, 2016 [IEA, 2017]

Excluding South Africa, which has an access rate of 86%, the access rate for the Southern Africa sub-region is 31%, roughly double what it was in 2000. Eskom, South Africa’s state owned energy company, generates approximately 90 percent of South Africa’s electricity, two-thirds of the electricity for the African continent and approximately 75% of the electricity within the South African Power Pool. It owns and operates the national transmission system which is made up of approximately 377 000 km of power lines, 32 000 km of which constitute the national transmission grid.

The South African electrification rate grew from strength to strength from 35% in 1990, to 78.7% in 2003 and to 84.2% in 2013 after which, as a result of an increase in population growth, a negative electrification growth rate of 2.4% was observed from 2015 to 2017. With 87% of urban areas and 83% of rural areas electrified, the emphasis of the South African Electrification Programme is shifting from the urban to the rural areas of South Africa [Szewczuk, 2015]. In South African on average, only 69% of connected households actually have electricity that works most or all of the time [Haden, 2016].

Energy economists believe that energy plays a pivotal role as a driver of the factors involved in a countries production industry [Khobai, et al., 2016]. In the latest approval, the South African government planned to electrify the sector to the maximum limit (up to 97% in case of formal households) by 2025. Additionally, it is mentioned that 90% of the households will be connected to the national grid, while the remaining 7% will use quality off-grid options [Bongwe, 2013].

References

Bongwe, K. (2013) ‘Overview of Universal Energy Access Strategy’, Presentation to Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on Integrated Energy Planning Report, Ministry of Energy, Department of Energy, Republic of South Africa. 31 October.

Haden, Alexis (2016) ‘The Electrification of Africa How does South Africa compare to the rest of the continent’.

International Energy Agency (2009)

International Energy Agency (2017) Electricity information: Overview. Statistics.

Khobai, H., Sanderson, A. & Pierre Le Roux (2016) ‘Co-integration between Electricity Supply and Economic Growth in South Africa’, International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 2016, 6(3), 637-645.

Szewczuk (2015)