Comparative cost-benefit analysis of renewable energy resources for rural community development in Nigeria
Ogunlade, Abimbola Adegoke
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Rural development by means of providing uninterruptible power supply has become a priority among developing countries. Nigeria especially has on its top agenda the mandate to provide clean and cost-effective means of energy to the rural communities, hardest hit by wave of incessant outages of electricity supply. Renewable Energy (RE), a clean form of energy that can be derived from natural sources is widely available throughout Nigeria but is not harnessed. In this dissertation a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) framework is proposed for renewable energy towards rural community development in Nigeria as indicated in the 18-point recommendations of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN). Moreover, a cost-benefit analysis tool is formulated and developed from the CBA framework in order to analyze comparatively the costs and intangible benefits of renewable energy projects for rural application. A case study demonstrating the working methodology of the proposed framework is presented in order to establish the cost-benefit components by assessing the comparative cost-benefit analysis of RE at a rural site of Nigeria. Erinjiyan Ekiti rural area is located for CBA assessment with three RE resources (solar, wind and small hydro) selected for consideration. Through the application of Contingent Valuation Method (CVM), the respondents' willingness to pay for RE supply is obtained and RE benefits in monetary terms computed. Using three economic decision criteria namely: Net Present Value (NPV), Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR); the three RE resources are ranked according to their economic viability. The result of the analysis provides useful insight to investors and decision makers into how RE projects in rural community should be conducted. Foremost, it is revealed that all three RE options will be economically viable if implemented, though adequate caution must be taken when making a decision. Based on the CBA assessment, the Small-Hydro Power (SHP) option is ranked as the most viable option. However, this is swiftly negated if RE social impact, such as the spiritual belief of the rural dwellers, who rely on the only potential river as a medium of communication with their ancestors, are taken into consideration. Furthermore, a sensitivity assessment of the three RE options revealed that only solar photovoltaic (PV) option is marginally viable, thus turns negative upon an assumed increase in discount rate of only 17%. Herein, the proposed CBA framework provides a useful insight into an efficient method of appraising RE projects in rural communities. A CBA simulation tool is formulated and adapted from the CBA framework to enable quicker, reliable and automated means of assessing RE projects with a view to making wise investment decision.
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