Adaptation in the energy sector


Electricity for domestic and industrial use in Madagascar is produced by a combination of hydropower and thermal diesel fuel facilities. There are 12 main hydropower facilities of which Andekaleka and Mandraka are the largest, and 95 thermal power stations. Hydropower provides approximately 68% of the country’s electricity. Access to electricity in Madagascar remains low with 15% of the population connected to the network. In rural areas, only 5% of the population is connected. For households without electricity, charcoal for heating and cooking, and kerosene for lighting are the two most important energy sources.

The energy sector is most often discussed in the context of its contribution to climate change as a result of fossil fuel use, and the potential for mitigation measures to be implemented to reduce emissions from this sector. However, the energy sector also has the potential to be affected by climate change. Given the importance of a reliable and secure supply of energy for socio-economic development, and the links between energy and ecosystems due to the extensive use of biomass for household energy, adaptation to climate change in the Malagasy energy sector will be required.

Potential Impacts

Climate change impacts on the energy sector are likely to occur as a result of both climate variability and extreme climate events, including increased incidence and intensity of cyclones, drought and flooding. Potential impacts include:
• Effects on hydropower generation infrastructure, both in terms of physical and operational effects, resulting from changes to hydrological cycles, water availability and river flow conditions.

• Effects on thermal power generation infrastructure, both directly and indirectly, resulting from physical damage during storm events or flooding, or changes in availability of input materials including water and diesel fuel.

• Effects on transmission and distribution infrastructure, resulting from increased temperatures damaging transmission lines and reducing transmission efficiencies, or flood, salinity or storm damage to transmission lines or substations.

• Effects on access to charcoal resulting from direct and secondary climate change impacts on natural or plantation ecosystems used to source raw materials for charcoal production.

• Disruption to livelihoods and socio-economic development resulting from disruption to electricity supply and other energy sources related to climate variability ad extreme events.

Priority Actions

Climate change adaptation measures are required to increase the resilience of the energy sector at both the large-scale and household levels to future climate conditions. Examples of priority adaptation approaches that should be considered for implementation in the energy sector in Madagascar include:
• Improved sustainability of charcoal production through enforcement of regulations against illegal charcoal production activities, improved yields from existing legal charcoal activities using plantation materials, and development of new plantations for charcoal production on degraded lands to reduce pressure for utilization of natural resources or deforestation for development of plantations. Such adaptation measures should be implemented in parallel with adaptation measures related to sustainable livelihoods and natural ecosystems.

• Diversification of household and community energy generation sources to reduce reliance on biomass as an energy source and thus reduce pressure on natural systems. Examples include solar energy or small-scale hydropower generation.

• Increase in the level of rural electrification in line with the Government’s objective of 10% rural electrification by 2012, to reduce reliance on biomass as an energy source and increase reliance on use of sustainable, climate-proofed large scale generation sources where possible.

• Climate proofing of existing and future hydropower infrastructure through the implementation of structural and/or non-structural measures. Structural measures can include construction or augmentation of reservoirs, modifications to spillway capacities, installation of controllable gates on spillways, modifications to the number and type of turbines, and/or modification of canals or tunnels. Non-structural measures relate to operational and management strategies and can include development of hydrological forecasting techniques and adaptative management operating rules, and development of basin wide management strategies that take into account the full range of downstream environmental and human water uses. Structural measures are more typically suited to integration in future developments, and can have secondary environmental or social effects that require careful analysis. Non-structural measures can be integrated into existing or future developments and typically require the involvement of numerous stakeholders within the river basin.

• Climate proofing of thermal power and transmission and distribution infrastructure including retrofitting of existing infrastructure and design of future infrastructure. Measures can include strengthening of infrastructure against storm events or wind, protection of infrastructure against flooding with dykes or berms or construction of new infrastructure in areas unlikely to be affected by future flooding, salinity or storm events.