Pathways towards a defossilated sustainable power system for West Africa within the time horizon of 2015–2050 is researched, by applying linear optimisation modelling to determine the cost optimal generation mix to meet the demand based on assumed costs and technologies in 5-year intervals. Six scenarios were developed, which aimed at examining the impact of various policy constraints such as cross-border electricity trade and greenhouse gas emissions costs. Solar PV emerges as the prime source of West Africa's future power system, supplying about 81–85% of the demand in the Best Policy Scenarios for 2050. The resulting optimisation suggests that the costs of electricity could fall from 70 €/MWh in 2015 to 36 €/MWh in 2050 with interconnection, and to 41 €/MWh without interconnection in the Best Policy Scenarios by 2050. Whereas, the levelised cost of electricity without greenhouse emission costs in the Current Policy Scenario is 70 €/MWh. Results of the optimisation indicate that a fully renewables based power system is the least-cost, least-GHG emitting and most job-rich option for West Africa. This study is the first of its kind study for the West African power sector from a long-term perspective.
Renewable Energy, Volume 154, July 2020,