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Research and Development  
3 August 2017

World Bank launches online electricity access tracking tool

The World Bank in partnership with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, have launched an electricity access tool to track more households without electricity connections.

Explaining how the Electrification Pathways application works, the Bank stated that the tool considers a variety of open, geospatial data to determine the least-cost options for bringing electricity to areas as granular as 1 square kilometre in size.

"We have 1.06 billion people who lack access to electricity. We know this will change in the future and the only questions are how, how fast, and at what cost," said Dimitris Mentis, a lead researcher with KTH's Energy Systems Analysis division and the developer of the tool.

Mentis added: "This tool can help countries move faster, and make more cost-effective decisions, when it comes to ensuring access to sustainable energy for all."

Electricity access tool

The World Bank noted that governments and other planners are already relying on the geographic information system (GIS)-based application to inform their investments.

A case in point is Zambia having used the tool to design a plan for expanding electricity access nationally. Read more...

Senior energy specialist at the World Bank, Rahul Kitchlu, said: "Tools that offer this level of analysis historically have been proprietary and therefore costly. The Electrification Pathways application is open source, designed in such a way that others can easily adapt the code and datasets for their needs.”

“It also pulls from open data sources to inform its analysis, helping planners to save time on resource-intensive data collection and allowing policy makers to get key answers faster,” Kitchlu added.

How the application works

The new tool's powerful data analytics relies on the best available datasets, including those from the World Bank, on population density, distance from existing and planned transmission infrastructure, proximity to road network, night time light, as well as energy resources availability, among others.

For each 1 km square location, seven electrification technologies are compared, such as grid, renewable and hybrid mini-grids, and individual systems.

Based on the geographic data and the level and quality of electricity supply sought, the lowest-cost system is selected. Results are available for each 1-by-1 km settlement, while summaries including universal electrification costs are provided in national, state and district level.

The Bank noted that the Electrification Pathways' algorithm incorporates ESMAP's Multi-tier Framework, an approach to defining, monitoring, and evaluating energy access.

The tool is now available at ENERGYDATA.INFO, a new open data and analytics resource for governments, investors, companies, development organizations, and others working to accelerate affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

 

Featured image: Stock

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