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Experience with Independent Power Projects (IPPs) in Developing Countries: Introduction and Case Study Methods, The
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Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Working Paper #23

April 2004

Starting in the late 1980s many nations began to reform their electric power markets away from state-dominated systems to those with a greater role for market forces. In developing countries, especially, these reforms have proved challenging. Successful reform requires a complex set of institutions and complementary reforms, such as in public finance and corporate governance. State-dominated systems typically create their own powerful constituencies that block or redirect the reform process. In an earlier detailed study of reform in five key developing countries, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) found that the result of these pressures, in most cases, is a “hybrid” outcome—an electric power system that is partly reformed and partly dominated by the state 2. Almost always the first step in hybrid reform is the encouragement of private investors to build independent power projects (IPPs)—generators that are hooked to the main power system and, typically, supply electricity according to long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

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