Local Hydroelectric Power as Seedbeds for Supplementing Electricity Supply in the North West Region of Cameroon

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume IV, Issue IX, September 2020 | ISSN 2454–6186

Local Hydroelectric Power as Seedbeds for Supplementing Electricity Supply in the North West Region of Cameroon

Riddley Mbiybe Ngala1, Gilbert Banboye Fondze2
1Department of Geography, The University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
2Department of Geography, The University of Douala, Cameroon.

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Abstract: Access to electricity in most developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is a herculean task. However, the emergence of Local hydroelectric power (LHEP) is becoming popular and being embraced by a wide range of communities as a pre-solution to their energy issues. Although widely acknowledged as coming to the rescue of electricity disfavoured communities, this paper considers such initiatives as going far beyond mere energy supply schemes but standing out as seedbeds for supplementing electricity supply. This perception is challenged with evidences on the role and influence of this category of renewable energy schemes in energy supply. Then a demonstration is made of how local electricity systems are unavoidable recourse to by numerous households in classical energy redundant areas. It is, therefore argued that decentralized electricity systems serve as seedbeds for supplementing energy supply and sustaining it in marginalised energy supply communities, makes it a seedbed to electricity supply. Further academic attention is required to render such initiatives less risky and efficient by upgrading their performance with the required technological know-how and equipment.

Keywords: Community energy, seedbeds, conventional electricity, North West Region, Cameroon.

I. INTRODUCTION

Electricity generation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is characterised by acute shortages and high levels of unreliability. In most of the countries in the region, electricity generation capacities are less than 1000 MW, against huge demand for domestic, service, and industrial applications. The entire installed electricity generation capacity for all 48 countries of SSA excluding the Republic of South Africa is just around 30 giga watts (GW), which is stated to be almost equal to that of Argentina [1]. Growing demands in energy, especially, electrical energy and government’s incapacity to satisfy local energy needs led to community energy projects in disfavoured energy communities. Considering access to energy as a “fundamental right”, local dwellers feel discriminated upon and marginalised looking at the current energy distribution pattern and at the enormous energy potential harboured by their communities and country at large. Despite the efforts mobilised by these communities to tackle the issue through community energy projects the efforts are often not measured up as potent enough to lay the grounds for resolving the general energy deficiency.