Delivery Models for Decentralised Rural Electrification
There are many different ways to electrify rural areas, not only with regard to technology, but also the types of delivery models applied. Common rural electrification technologies include grid extension, community mini-grids, stand-alone household systems, multifunctional platforms and central charging stations with battery banks.
A recent report published by IIED, Delivery models for decentralised rural electrification in Nepal, Peru and Kenya by Annabel Yadoo, focuses on the delivery models used for community mini-grids. There is evidence that mini-grids can be one of the cheaper forms of electrification (per unit, calculated over the system’s lifetime) and can offer a 24 hour AC service to power a wide range of appliances.
The purpose of the report is to analyse the ability of delivery models to provide sustainable welfare benefits. It is based on three case studies of renewable energy mini-grid projects/programmes in Nepal, Peru and Kenya. Rural electrification poses a great challenge to all three countries (only 32 percent of rural Nepalese, 23 percent of rural Peruvians and 10 percent of rural Kenyans have access to electricity in their homes), yet their different physical, institutional, economic and socio-cultural contexts have led to different approaches to rural electrification.
The key findings from the case studies are:
The second stage of the analysis focuses on examining which elements of a project’s delivery model are particularly important for the creation of sustainable welfare benefits. Delivery models are subdivided into technology choice, implementation process, and support infrastructure (its enabling environment). They include: assessment of community needs, desires and availability of local resources; management models; productive end uses; ownership and governance; local skills and training; local job creation; financing; dissemination strategies; and interaction with hardware suppliers and financing, regulatory, legal and political institutions and policies.
The report presents the following core recommendations for the benefit of practitioners and institutions involved in the provision and implementation of rural electrification projects in developing countries:
This report is the third in IIED’s ‘access to energy’ publication series. The series was launched in 2011 as a way of supporting research and making available lessons learned about access to energy. The series includes in-depth studies of specific access to energy projects, programmes and business models; analytical literature studies about particular aspects of energy delivery; and in-depth country studies looking more broadly at the energy sector and aspects of policy that support or hamper access to modern energy services, especially for poor and remote communities.
The aim is to explore how current initiatives are working, how they depend on their social, cultural and political context, and how successful models can be scaled up, replicated or adapted to suit other contexts. We try to combine publication of these case studies with a discussion event or press conference. The first two publications in the series are:
Key issues in Uganda's energy sector
Robert Tumwesigye, Paul Twebaze, Nathan Makuregye and Ellady Muyambe, 2011
Remote access: Expanding energy provision in rural Argentina through public-private partnerships and renewable energy. A case study of the PERMER programme
Sarah Best, 2011
For more information contact IIED's Energy Team Leader, Emma Wilson