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Rethinking energy strategies: Take a demand-driven approach.

Linking energy to poverty reduction and rural development will require a big shift from today’s technology- and supply-driven approaches to more bottom-up, people-centred ones, where interventions are tailored to local demands and contexts.

There is strong evidence that energy access projects fail because they ignore the fundamental issues: what people want energy for; the types of equipment they use; what they can afford; their capacity to run and maintain systems; how existing systems operate. In many low-income countries, traditional and modern energy systems co-exist, with most households using wood and charcoal for cooking, candles or kerosene for lighting, and human or animal labour for agriculture and transport. With supply dominated by the informal sector, these systems operate outside the purview of policymakers and energy planners, who instead focus on improving the modern energy system to supply electricity, modern fuels and appliances. Working with households and communities to define their energy needs and preferences is time-consuming and requires a change from the technocratic approach of most energy planners. But, if well designed and implemented, this approach will lead to more sustainable outcomes.

 

Source: Briefing, issued November 2013 by iied


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