As Eli has pointed out, this is mostly because the costs of building out the distribution network is not zero, far from it, and small village based solar powered grids are less expensive.
Of course, none of these folks figure in the costs and difficulties of maintaining an electrical, gas or electric transmission network in these countries, where people have the habit of borrowing power, power lines and gas. There is a reason that the Niger delta lights up at night and it ain't LEDs. There is a reason why even in rapidly developing countries, that everybunny has a diesel generator and the generator cuts in more than now and again.
Most frustratingly to Eli is the fact that the cost of solar is a capital cost, which once paid, does not require buying fuel, the major cost of fossil energy
But no, listen to Matt King Cole
Still, more than a billion people on the planet have yet to get access to electricity and to experience the leap in living standards that abundant energy brings. This is not just an inconvenience for them: Indoor air pollution from wood fires kills four million people a year. The next time that somebody at a rally against fossil fuels lectures you about her concern for the fate of her grandchildren, show her a picture of an African child dying today from inhaling the dense muck of a smoky fire.Of course, bunnies could always look at pictures of Lagos in the Smog, or Mumbai, or Shanghai. Coal is so tasty when burnt. Or we have Bjorn Bunny in the New York Times,
they should not stand in the way of poorer nations as they turn to coal and other fossil fuels. This approach will get our priorities right. And perhaps then, people will be able to cook in their own homes without slowly killing themselves.Anyhow, this reminded Eli of something, but he could not remember quite what, until while writing yesterday's post on how the Montreal Protocol Insurance Co was working out to the benefit of all, he kind of remembered and went looking for Fred Singer's rants on how the Montreal Protocols were the devil incarnate and he came across Fred quoting from The Spectator, March 12, 1994.
"..the consequences of banning CFCs will certainly be disastrous./. The proposed replacements are less efficient and some of them are toxic, endangering the health of fridge workers and people nearby. In Afria, refrigeration saves lives, not only by protecting food against decay and disease, but by preserving medicines, notably vaccines. Anything that makes refrigeration more expensive or more difficult will cost lives in Africa and add to poverty, and anything that adds to poverty in Africa increases the destruction of the African environment. . .Somehow it is all right for people in the West to benefit from modern technology but wrong for poor people in Africa and Asia. It is more wholesome for black Africans to die in infancy of "natural" agents such as maleria and food poisoning than to be safeguarded into healthy old age by unnatural agents such as pesticides and CFCs. The outstanding feature of their victims is that they are poor.Just a perfect rant, and perfectly wrong on all points.