AbstractHydroelectric power plants account for 25% of West Africa's total installed capacity. In general, electricity generated by these plants is seasonal and intra-annual fluctuation has a considerable impact on electricity supply and cross-border electricity trade. We soft-linked a global hydrologic model to a multi-region capacity expansion and planning model for the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) to examine the effects of seasonality in hydropower electricity generation on electricity trade, as well as the economic benefits of unconstrained cross-border electricity trade. We found that transitioning from rainy to dry season decreases hydroelectricity generation by an average of 40% in a normal year across the region. Between 2018 and 2050, satisfying the region's electricity demand will require significant capital investment; nevertheless, extending from current bilateral electricity trade agreements to a fully competitive cross-border electricity trade will result in net annual savings of $3 billion in 2015 USD. To achieve year-round energy security, countries should plan ahead and diversify their energy sources to ensure that supply reliability can be maintained in the case of lower supply during the dry season.
Published: February 24, 2023