The evolving role of finance in renewable electricity systems in Senegal, Speaker: Dr. Lucy Baker, University of Sussex


Virtual via Zoom, 29 October 2020

Speaker: Dr. Lucy Baker, University of Sussex

According to the IEA, in 2018 75 per cent of Senegal’s electricity was generated from diesel generators. Until recently, the country suffered from regular and prolonged electricity blackouts and load-shedding, accompanied by rising electricity tariffs. However, electricity security and access have started to improve since 2012 following the government’s commitment to achieve 100 per cent electrification and overhaul the generation mix, with the promotion of renewable energy as a core objective. In the last decade, significant regulatory changes have been introduced to allow for the introduction of privately generated electricity. Consequently, significant developments have been made at various scales, including the development of the 158 MW Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye wind farm and various solar PV plants at the utility-scale; the development of numerous solar PV mini-grids; and the rapid development of off-grid and micro-grid systems across the country.
Thus far, however, limited critical thinking has been dedicated to how these emerging systems of renewable electricity systems are being financed and owned. With this in mind, I ask the following questions:
· What are the evolving configurations and processes of finance and investment in different scales of renewable electricity generation in Senegal?
· Through which regulatory mechanisms have they been facilitated?
· How are they interacting with national and local territorial realities?
Analytically the research builds on emerging concepts of ‘geographies of electricity capital’ (Luke and Huber 2020) in order to understand evolving interactions between finance, technologies and infrastructure and the role of the state and other public and private actors in setting the terms for new configurations of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.

Lucy Baker is a senior research fellow in the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. She is a human geographer with research expertise in the political economy of energy transitions; renewable energy policy, finance and technology development; and low-carbon development in the global South. She has a country specialism on South Africa. Lucy is convenor on the master’s module: “Energy and Development”. She is also associate editor of the journal Geoforum.
Prior to joining academia in 2008, Lucy worked for over a decade with environment, development and human rights non-governmental organisations, including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Bretton Woods Project, as a policy officer, campaigner and fund-raiser.