Sustainable Energy Use in the Global South

Reviewing the outcomes and impacts of small-scale energy projects

Photovoltaik and wind energy
  • News 03.12.2018

Access to sustainable and affordable energy services is a crucial factor in reducing poverty and enhancing development in the Global South. It is assumed that various positive effects are linked to easy access to energy. One of the assumed positive effects is the productive use of energy, which is expected to generate value, for example in the form of increased income or higher local availability of goods. Many programmes and projects are based on the expectations regarding the productive use of energy but systematic evidence of these outcomes and impacts is still limited. Dr. Julia C. Terrapon-Pfaff, Dr. Marie-Christine Gröne, Carmen Dienst, and Willington Ortiz (Division Future Energy and Mobility Structures, Wuppertal Institute) have analysed the results of an impact evaluation of 30 small-scale energy development projects.

In the paper "Productive use of energy – Pathway to development?", the authors investigated whether and how the supply of sustainable energy services supported productive use and whether these activities actually have the expected positive effects on the local livelihoods. Their results show that access to sustainable energy does not automatically lead to productive activities. Energy is only one of the input factors needed to promote socio-economic development. The results show that activities, materials and information to support productive energy use must be an integral part of the energy project itself. Without the availability of training or equipment, productive activities cannot  develop on a larger scale.

The complete paper is available on ScienceDirect and can be found under the following link.