Impacts of Regulations on the diffusion of renewable energy in Africa: The case study of the Republic of Benin
Kouame Zaucyn, David
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Energy transition is one of the key challenges the world in general and Africa especially is facing in order to reach sustainable development. As a vulnerable continent to the effects of climate change, it is in the interest of African countries to go for renewable energy which is indispensable in the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help in the achievement of total access to clean energy. This study elucidates that mainstreaming renewable energy in Republic of Benin appears to be essential to achieve total access to energy and foster economic growth, social well-being in a friendly environment. Currently, Republic of Benin relies on neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory coast for nearly 76% of its electricity supply as well as for most of the petroleum products despite its huge renewable energy potential. However, it is difficult to have an appropriate development of renewable energy without the existence of suitable environment, this involves the establishment and implementation of a precise and clear legal, policy and regulatory frameworks. Thus, investment in the sector will be encouraged and guaranteed while making energy accessible and affordable for the populations. An in-depth examination of the overall renewable energy situation in the Republic of Benin has been conducted through interviews and examination of relevant materials in order to evaluate the deficiencies and the needs within the renewable energy sector. The study was focused on the regulatory framework for the diffusion of renewable energy in the country. The findings confirmed clearly that the mainstreaming of renewable energy in Republic of Benin is tremendously lacking favourable regulatory support, this is evident in the current non satisfactory energy situation within the country. The existing policy documents that could lead to the diffusion of RE also have serious gaps. One of these gaps is the unclear PPP law, this creates hesitance from the side of potential investors in the sector due to time and money lost in procedures. Also, the finance law that removes VAT on rural electrification equipment is complex to understand. In addition to this is the fact that the Beninese code of electricity does not prioritise renewable energy; more, there is an obvious lack of adapted funding and Feed-In-Tariff measures. The establishment of a smart energy law based on the energy law theory in Republic of Benin that gives priority to RE is the right step in achieving Energy transition and by extension Energy security in the country. For the implementation of such law to go well both the public and private sectors, national and international cooperation must work in synchronization and ensure gender equality in every step of the decision-making process.