According to the last IPCC report, the global energy system remains the largest source of CO2 emissions. Addressing Climate Change (CC) requires for the energy sector to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. In West Africa (WA), this challenge also meets the issue of energy access for a majority of the populations. Net zero strategies will necessarily be part of a sustainable energy development that looks for balancing the population need for energy and the corresponding negative impacts on local and global social-ecosystems. Energy system modelling should help decision makers to determine potential pathways for the net zero energy mix in the region, from the strategy to the type of low-carbon energy resources to be implemented. At the moment, energy models in WA need 1) better contextualization regarding energy access, in particular by taking into account decentralized options, 2) enhanced integration across the multiple dimensions of the energy system equilibrium between energy supply and energy demand at the national scale, and 3) taking into consideration the net zero agenda through innovative system configurations, economic futures and mitigation options.
NZEMIX main objective is to contribute to the assessment of possible net-zero energy mix pathways in WA. In order to tackle this challenge, the project will especially focus on the interconnectedness between existing detailed models of energy supply (renewable, non-renewable), end-using sectors (agriculture, transport, residential, etc.) and social-environmental drivers (CC, population growth, urbanization, LULC changes) at sub-national and national scale. NZEMIX will develop a modular decision support framework based on 1) integrating specific aspects of the WA social-energy framework (e.g. centralization vs. decentralization), 2) aggregating a forcing frame of the essential social-environmental drivers (e.g. climate change, population growth, urbanization, land use and land cover changes) for which projections are available in the region, and 3) building a network of energy-economy sectoral models (NSM) in which each model can incrementally be plugged.