In 2019, 770 million people were without access to electricity globally. They are left without the possibility of using electric light at night, powering refrigerators and stoves, or charging their phones and other devices. Until 2019, the number constantly decreased but the Covid-19 pandemic reversed the trend. In its World Energy Outlook 2021 report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that between 2019 and 2021 the global number of people without access to electricity stuck at its pre-crisis level – after seeing improvements by around 9% annually since 2015. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), for the first time since 2013, the numbers are likely to have even increased in 2020.
In September, Prof. Katja Bender and Prof. Stefanie Meilinger – project leaders of EnerSHelF – talked with the Bonn Sustainability Portal about the project. You can now read the English version below.
Dear Prof. Bender, dear Prof. Meilinger, you are both coordinating the project “Energy Self-Sufficiency for Health Facilities in Ghana” – EnerSHelF – at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. What are the goals of the project?
In Ghana, like in many developing countries and emerging market economies, blackouts are a common phenomenon. This is critical – especially for health facilities – as the care for patients relies on a reliable energy supply. Without electricity, operations and other procedures are not possible during the night, important instruments are malfunctioning, or the cooling circle of life-saving vaccines and medications are disrupted.
Over the course of this summer, ten enumerators conducted the survey at 200 health facilties for the EnerSHelF project. The enumeration was led by Dr. Kennedy Alatinga and Ana Maria Perez. Read more about the data collection in the interview with Ana Maria Perez below. At the end of the interview, you find impressions by the enumerators.
Update: In July, a group of ten local enumerators started interviewing 200 health facilities all over Ghana. Prior to the start of the survey, they have been trained by Ana Maria Pérez from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and Kennedy Alatinga from SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Wa. After an intensive training week and a test run of the survey in June, the data collection is well on track. Until now, around 80% of the health facilities have been interviewed. The survey is set to be completed during the month of August.
In March 2021, a group of researchers from the EnerSHelF project published a paper in the IZNE Working Paper Series: “PV-diesel-hybrid system for a hospital in Ghana – Connection of a PV battery storage model to an existing generator model”. Matthias Bebber, leading author of the paper, summarizes the working paper in this article. You can access the paper on the H-BRS website.
In our paper, we present a model of a grid-integrated PV-diesel-hybrid system. The model is based on an existing simulation tool from Cologne University of Applied Sciences and was further developed in the context of this paper. By means of real measurement data of PV yield and electricity consumption of a hospital in Ghana – collected in a period from February 2016 to 2017 – the behaviour of the hybrid system in different scenarios is examined. The influence of power outages and seasonal differences in solar radiation on the use of generator and electricity demand from the public power grid for different battery sizes is considered. Special attention is paid to the meteorological and atmospheric characteristics in Ghana, such as the rainy and dry seasons, as well as the harmattan, a seasonal wind in West Africa that carries a lot of dust.
Interview with Matthias Bebber from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS)
While working for the EnerSHelF project, you are still enrolled as a student at H-BRS. Can you tell us a bit more about your academic background?
In 2015, I started studying mechanical engineering with a focus on mechatronics at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS). After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2019, I continued my studies with a master’s degree at H-BRS. I am currently preparing for my master’s thesis.
Your master’s thesis project will be published within the IZNE Working Paper Series. What is it about?
During my master’s project, I created a model of a photovoltaic (PV)-diesel-hybrid system, which has an additional battery storage system and is connected to the public power grid. With the help of this model and data of a hospital in Akwatia, Ghana, we investigated different influences on the system. For instance, we studied the impact of the different seasons – such as rainy season, dry season and the harmattan (characterized by a dry and dusty north-easterly wind) – on the PV yield and therefore on the system. In addition, we looked at how the power outages that occur commonly in this region would affect such a system.
Interview with Rone Yousif from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. He is supervising the measurement concept at the three pilot sites of the EnerSHelF project in Ghana.
You recently joined the EnerSHelF project under work package 3.0. Can you tell a bit about your professional background and your experience in working with renewable energy?
I am very pleased that the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (H-BRS) gave me the opportunity to actively contribute to the project. In 2013 I decided to study mechanical engineering as I am very technically oriented. As part of my master’s degree, I focused on solar power and I have dealt with issues of energy meteorology. My master’s thesis investigated the influence of aerosols and clouds on photovoltaics (PV). It was fascinating to see how dust outbreaks in Ghana affect the PV performance but also to face the challenges that occur in the energy sector.
Watch the interview with Callistus Agbaam, researcher for the EnerSHelF project at the International Centre for Sustainable Development at University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. By clicking on “continue reading →”, you can see the transcript of the interview below.
Interview with Ana Maria Perez Arredondo from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She explains how and why she examines institutional structures in Ghana and points out linkages of EnerSHelF to her doctoral thesis on One Health.
You recently joined work package 1 of the EnerSHelF project which is examining the political economy structure of Ghana. Can you explain your role within this work package?
Sure. I will be looking at how the dissemination of technology, particularly photovoltaic (PV), is happening in Ghana. In particular, I will interview managers of health facilities to evaluate the challenges they have in relation to energy supply and their impressions towards renewable and non-centralized energy sources. The goal is to evaluate the market potential for PV.