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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainable Energy for Cities in the Developing World: A Case Study of Rendeavour’s Appolonia and King City Projects in Ghana

According to the UN’s World Urbanization Prospects report for 2012, over half of the world’s population lives in cities and urban environments, and this is projected to reach 70 percent by 2050 The most dramatic changes are being recorded in the developing world, where UN-HABITAT estimates that more than 3 million new inhabitants move into cities each week. At this rate, Africa is expected to host more than a quarter of the world’s urban dwellers by 2050. New satellite cities are being planned across the continent as one solution to rapid urbanisation, and Rendeavour, a private urban developer, is building two such cities in Ghana –King City and Appolonia. Envisioned as exemplars of mixed-used and mixed-income urban developments, these must be delivered sustainably and within resource constraints.

With these two cities are case studies, this dissertation investigated the viability of sustainable electricity provision at the city level and develops a methodology to identify the best supply option. Three key research questions were investigated, namely: 1) What is a sustainable Rendeavour City from an electricity provision standpoint? 2) What dynamics can be modelled to govern electricity supply and consumption within each city on completion? 3) Based on the electricity supply context as well as the demand estimates for the two cities, what options are available for sustainable electricity provision?

Using the Analytical Hierarchal Process (AHP) method, four options were identified and evaluated, namely: i) national grid, ii) self-powered renewables, iii) self-powered gas plant, and iv) hybrid supply options. Evaluation criteria were selected to reflect the objectives of: minimum GHG emissions, least electricity price, highest system performance and potential revenue opportunity. Based on these assumptions, the AHP output supported a renewables or gas-thermal self-powered supply option. Finally, recommendations were developed for Rendeavour, the Government of Ghana and other potential satellite city developers.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.