Linking Energy Planning with the Sustainable Development Goals : The Case of Ghana

University essay from KTH/Energiteknik

Author: Joni Mäkinen; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Infrastructure systems are a key component in national development, as these systems provide essential services that are needed for a society to function, such as energy, food and water. All infrastructure systems have connections to each other, and thus decisions made when investing in one system can affect other systems as well. This means that it is important to consider sustainability when making long-term investments within infrastructure, as decisions can have long-lasting ramifications within the society. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) where invented to aid in making decisions based on sustainable development, and thus it is important to be able to connect these goals to national decision-making. This study aims to connect SDG’s to national decision-making within energy infrastructure by devising a sustainability assessment framework that connects long-term plans to the SDG’s via modelling tool outputs. This framework will then be connected to linkages between SDG targets to provide insights on how to account for trade-offs between SDG targets when assessing plans on infrastructure investments. Ways to incorporate cost outputs are also tested to enable actors within energy investments to analyze the cost-effects of different scenarios. A case study focusing on Ghana is used to test this framework against actual long-term plans of national energy infrastructure investments. In this study it was found out that indicators within a sustainability assessment framework could be weighted using connections between SDG targets as the weighting factor. This method gives insights on the importance of each indicator based on their interconnectedness and gives options for changing weighting easily if new information is found on relevant connections. When the indicators where linked to the chosen tool outputs, a connection between long term planning and the SDG’s could be achieved via the weighting system. As the connections between SDG targets can be divided between synergies and trade-offs, extra work can be done in the future to enable the user of the framework to alter the weighting based on context specific conditions, as these can affect the balance between positive and negative connections. As the SDG’s are designed to incorporate environmental, social and economic aspects of several different infrastructure systems, the framework should be expanded to incorporate these other infrastructure systems as well. This could require the use of several different modelling tools based on the systems that are analyzed, or the incorporation of a more connected tool if available. Still, this framework shows that model outputs can be linked to the SDG’s to provide assessments on the sustainability of long-term infrastructure development plans.

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