A primary challenge in the near future is to accelerate improvements in human well-being as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to mitigate climate change, as required by the Paris Agreement. INTERACTION (Resilient Energy Systems for Climate Change and Sustainable Development) recognises that access to energy correlates with improved well-being, that climate change mitigation and adaptation require a rapid transition to sustainable, renewable energy sources, and that stakeholder engagement is key to the success of energy transformations.

Project period
August 2019 – August 2021

European Union, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship Programme

Dr Robert Brecha

Megapower solar powered electric vehicle parking and charging station, Barbados © Frances Fuller/Climate Analytics

INTERACTION will bridge the gap between high-level modeling of energy systems and evaluation of solutions by working with stakeholders to develop energy-transition pathways, representing realistic implementation strategies in least-developed countries (LDCs) and in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). One outcome of the project will also be to provide regionally-specific feedback to the modelling community. Engagement with stakeholders will focus on multi-dimensional development priorities and commitments made by governments to meet SDGs and climate change mitigation through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Strong existing partnerships with Climate Analytics and other institutes will be leveraged in selected countries to enable consultation and discussion on comprehensive energy-system plans, while ensuring consistency between these plans and countries’ NDCs, climate change adaptation strategies, and SDGs. This country-specific research will provide case studies relevant for other regions as well as fulfill the goal of the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship by enabling the researcher to diversify his expertise in energy systems and to gain experience in energy and sustainable development planning implementation at an international level and in developing countries.

Project updates

New blog: ‘How West Africa can expand power supply and meet climate goals’

The Conversation Africa, 5 June 2020

Expanding renewable energy and cross-border cooperation could allow developing countries in West Africa to leapfrog or at least minimise the commitment to a climate-damaging future of fossil-fuel energy generation while powering sustainable development. Our new research shows that combining smartly selected, sustainably managed hydropower projects with an expansion of solar and wind energy is a no-regrets way forward for this region.

Full article at The Conversation Africa

Also on the Climate Analytics blog

New study: ‘Smart renewable electricity portfolios in West Africa’

Nature Sustainability 2020,

The worldwide growth of variable renewable power sources necessitates power system flexibility to safeguard the reliability of electricity supply. Yet today, flexibility is mostly delivered by fossil fuel power plants. Hydropower can be a renewable alternative source of flexibility, but only if operated according to adequate strategies considering hourly-to-decadal and local-to-regional energy and water needs. Here, we present a new model to investigate hydro–solar–wind complementarities across these scales. We demonstrate that smart management of present and future hydropower plants in West Africa can support substantial grid integration of solar and wind power, limiting natural gas consumption while avoiding ecologically harmful hydropower overexploitation. We show that pooling regional resources and planning transmission grid expansion according to spatiotemporal hydro–solar–wind synergies are crucial for optimally exploiting West Africa’s renewable potential. By 2030, renewable electricity in such a regional power pool, with solar and wind contributing about 50%, could be at least 10% cheaper than electricity from natural gas.

Full article

New study published: ‘Threshold Electricity Consumption Enables Multiple Sustainable Development Goals’

Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5047;

Access to sufficient amounts of energy is a prerequisite for the development of human well-being. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognise the interconnectedness of climate change, energy access and development. However, not all SDG targets are quantified, leaving room for ambiguity in fulfilling, for example, the goal of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (SDG7). We show how specific sustainable development targets for health indicators are strongly correlated with electricity consumption levels in the poorest of countries. Clear thresholds in per capita electricity consumption of a few hundred kWh per year are identified by analysing SDG indicator data as a function of per capita country electricity consumption. Those thresholds are strongly correlated with meeting of SDG 3 targets-below the identified thresholds, countries do not meet the SDG targets, while above the threshold there is a clear relationship between increasing consumption of electricity and improvement of SDG indicators. Electricity consumption of 400 kWh per capita is significantly higher than projections made by international agencies for future energy access, but only 5%–10% that of OECD countries. At the very least, the presence of thresholds and historical data patterns requires an understanding of how SDG targets would be met in the absence of this threshold level of electricity access.

Full article

This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Scenario in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement

LEAP energy modelling workshops in West Africa

Dr. Brecha participated in energy modelling workshops in West Africa (Ghana and Burkina Faso) working with stakeholders using the LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning) tool. That training was in preparation for using LEAP as part of other Climate Analytics projects in the near future under the IMPACT project. Further collaborations are ongoing between CIREG and INTERACTION to look at the linkages between energy access and achieving SDG goals in West Africa.

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