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Least-cost electrification Pathways for Benin

KTH Royal Institute of Technology partnered with SNV to examine electrification pathways for Benin. The project examines the least-cost technology options to achieve universal electrification in Benin by 2030 under a range of scenarios. It also included a workshop held in Calavi in October 2018. During the workshop 15 people from the public and private energy sector as well as universities were trained on electrification modelling using OnSSET. Further, discussions on data and a meeting with energy sector partners in Benin was held.


Benin is located in West Africa, bordering Togo to the West, Nigeria to the East, Burkina Faso and Niger to the North and the Atlantic Ocean to the South. The population in 2015 was 10.58 million people, of which 44% lived in urban areas. With a poverty rate of 49.6% in 2015, Benin lags slightly behind the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa which has reduced poverty rates to 41.1% in 2015. Furthermore, with a GDP per capita of 830 USD (2017 estimate), the country falls behind the average of 1,554 USD/capita in sub-Saharan Africa. Access to modern fuels, especially electricity, is often considered a pre-requisite for development. Currently, only 29% of the population in the country has access to electricity. In urban areas this number is higher, 71%, while adversely in rural areas merely 18% of population has access to electricity. As per the Reflection group on the State vision of the electricity sector (GRVSE) the electrification target is 95% in urban areas and 65% in rural areas by 2025.

Targeting universal access to electricity by 2030 – as per SDG 7 – requires a combination of grid expansion and deployment of off-grid technologies. In this study, the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET) was used to examine 21 electrification pathways for Benin. The tool leverages geo-spatial information and uses a least-cost approach to identify the most cost effective electrification solution in each settlement.

Aim and objectives

KTH – in collaboration with SNV – examined a number of electrification pathways aiming at universal electricity access in Benin by 2030. The overall scope of the assignment entailed:

  1. Gathering and validation of data: This activity included collection of datasets that are necessary for the geospatial electrification analysis. Such data include socio-economic parameters (population density and distribution, existing and planned infrastructure, resource availability etc.), and technoeconomic parameters (types of power systems, technology costs, technical properties etc.). All collected and derivative data are publicly available on
  2. Preparation of an electrification model for Benin: This activity included the development of a customized OnSSET electrification model for Benin. 21 scenarios were created to examine how residential demand, technology costs and other parameters affect the optimal electrification mix. The impact of the cost of diesel, solar PV technology costs and grid electricity price was examined in particular as part of a sensitivity analysis. An up-to-date version of the electrification model developed and used in this activity is publicly available on GitHub.
  3. Result dissemination: This activity included the analysis of the electrification results and preparation of assisting material (maps, tables) to support policy design and strategy development for electrification. Further, a one-week training workshop was held in Benin with the participation of stakeholders from different sectors.

Project partners

Funding is provided by SNV Netherlands. The data support from the Direction Générale des Ressources Energétiques du Bénin (DGRE) is gratefully acknowledged as well.

Timeframe: 2018 - 2019




  1. ELECTRIFICATION PATHWAYS FOR BENIN - A spatial electrification analysis based on the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET) ( English , French ).
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