Reaching SDG7 in Benin with Integrated Energy Planning


Benin is a country where only 35% of the population has access to electricity. That’s the number on which the participants of the training workshop on “Integrated Energy Planning through the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET)” reached consensus.

However, the number remains uncertain, some sources state that it could also be 29%. Correct data acquisition is one of the challenges faced while monitoring the progress on reaching SDG7 in Benin and in many other countries. But just as important is sound planning. If we want to ensure access to clean and affordable electricity for everyone by 2030, how should we proceed? What are the most affordable options for different localities in the country? And which scenario is realistic?

SNV has partnered with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH University of Stockholm) to apply the OnSSET model on Benin. In collaboration with the Beninese Ministry of Energy, a wide range of data has been collected, such as the current transmission network, population statistics, local diesel and PV prices (actual and future), etc. All this data can be put in the model and depending on the desired objectives based on the ESMAP multitier framework for household electricity services, a map rolls out with the most cost-effective electrification option for each locality in the country and the total investment costs needed to reach the objective.

KTH trainers training participants in OnSSET

KTH supports in the presentation of the results in OnSSET

For Benin, grid extension in most scenarios is the best option for the majority of the population. But according to the desired objective, for between 10% and 25% of the population (which corresponds to 1,5 to 3,75 million people in 2030) solar standalone systems turn out to be the best solution. Solar mini-grids and to a lesser extent hydro mini-grids are in most scenarios as part of the solution to reach electricity for all by 2030. Wind mini-grids, diesel mini-grids and diesel stand-alone didn’t appear in any scenario run by the participants.

Please see below examples of different scenarios:


The tool has been well received by the participants and its added value has been qualified as ‘impressive’. The same positive appreciation came from the technical partners and government officials invited during the last day of the workshop. Also, some suggestions have been made for improvement, such as:

  • the addition of productive use in the model: currently, only household consumption is taken into account;
  • the addition of environmental impact in the model: currently, the model is fully based on the economic argument of least costs, while participants note that environmental arguments such as CO2 emissions should also be taken into account in decision making.


As mentioned previously, the availability of accurate and up to date data is recognised as a challenge, and the outcomes of the model calculations are highly dependent on the input data.

Next step is to put the results of OnSSET into practice. SNV is offering technical assistance services to ensure that the outcomes of this Integrated Energy Planning approach will support the realisation of concrete electrification projects. The tool offers valuable information for companies and investors to assess investment opportunities for off-grid energy solutions. SNV is particularly keen to support the implementation of mini-grid projects which follow the IDEA concept.

For more information, questions or suggestions, please contact Martin Van Dam,

Martin van Dam

Sector Leader - Energy