No. 5 January 1994


Implementation Strategies for Environmentally Sound Energy Paths

The UNEP Greenhouse Gas Abatement Costing Studies indicated a widespread existence of measures that could reduce emissions of both greenhouse gases and local pollutants, with modest increases or even decreases in energy system cost (i.e., negative net cost). Nevertheless, it is recognized that any national strategy to actually put such measures into practice would be likely to face barriers of various kinds not considered in the cost assessment.

A full national strategy would take into account broader national costs and benefits, as well as the long-term social and economic effects of each option on the relevant actors. It may also be necessary for the country to consider its institutional capacity for implementing a set of options even if funding were available.

To address some of these issues the Centre has initiated a set of new projects with the common accent on implementation. Through these projects it is hoped to gain experience and insight into the development of strategies for environmentally sound energy options.

Practical policy strategies can be designed to overcome implementation barriers. But this requires identification, study and understanding of the particular barriers which exist. For example, efficient technologies are already available with energy requirements 20 to 50 percent below those of technologies currently installed in many developing countries. However even though the new technologies appear to be economically attractive, this is no guarantee that implementation will take place, especially if a large number of actors are involved in the decision-making process.

Even if installation of the new technology is achieved, the theoretically available energy savings may not appear in practice. Realization of the full potential may need simultaneous infrastructure developments, training of personnel, various kinds of incentives, etc. It may require particular policy instruments before the new technology is put in place and used to its full potential, and the cost of implementing such policy may not be negligible.

Implementation issues for specific technologies and strategies vary between countries according to different social structures, regulatory systems, institutional capabilities and broader cultural factors. The implementation assessment must therefore be country or sub-country specific, although lessons learned may be translatable to other contexts.

Two new activities have been established with institutions in Maharashtra (India) and Zimbabwe. These activities aim at enhancing the understanding among local policy planners and researchers of implementation strategies to reduce environmental impacts of energy usage.

Strategic Options for the State of Maharashtra

The objective of the project is to identify promising Environmentally Sound Energy Technologies (ESETs) for various energy related activities and make a detailed assessment of the implementation costs associated with their adoption at the operational level in India. The experience gained would be applicable to other states in India and in other developing countries.

The project is undertaken in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) located in Bombay.

A few selected supply-side and demand-side energy related activities will be studied and possible options for the introduction of ESETs identified. Supply side activities include: thermal power station efficiency particularly auxiliary losses, and transmission and distribution losses in the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) system. The demand-side study will cover options for the high-tension industrial sector in Maharashtra.

The project was initiated in November 1993 and will be completed in June 1994. Centre staff visited IGIDR in November to initiate the first activities and Dr. Painuly from IGIDR worked at the Centre throughout December.

Implementation Strategy for Zimbabwe

This project was started at the end of 1993 with a study of various energy-related activities in Zimbabwe and their estimated contribution to environmental impacts. The project focuses on "no-regrets" (negative net cost) options or low-cost measures and will concentrate particularly on options in power production and use, agriculture, coal mining and manufacturing industry and work closely with key institutions in these sub-sectors.

The project builds directly on the existing collaboration in the GHG abatement costing project where Zimbabwe has participated since the inception. It will be implemented jointly by the Centre and the Southern Centre for Energy and Environment with the former playing the lead role in design, planning, monitoring and review of project activities, and the latter carrying out the country-level activities in consultation with the Ministry of Transport and Energy.


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