Reliable and affordable sources of energy are fundamental not only for wellbeing, but also for economic growth and poverty reduction. Fulfilling the energy needs of developing countries without compromising the environment is a challenge, requiring imaginative policies and methods. Many rural communities do not have access to the national electricity network or the associated benefits in health and quality of life provided by electrical services such as lighting and refrigeration. The installation of modular energy technologies that can be operated independently provides a solution for these areas.
We argue that to implement sustainable rural electrification, three important components are required:
People: Engagement of the local community in determining their needs, aspirations and goals. A thorough assessment of the social, economic and cultural context of the community is essential to identify the most appropriate system.
Product: Selection of technologies that are best suited for the local situation, based not only on the resources available but identification of the wants and needs of the community.
Process: The introduction of energy systems must be accompanied by the development of business processes to allow sustainable replication, deliver social benefits and generate wealth for the community.
The Energy for Development Network aims to combine these three key components to develop appropriate, replicable models for energy systems that recognize the socio-economic and financial, as well as technical aspects of supplying energy.