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Sustainable energy access planning. A framework - New study

Executive Summary (excerpt)

Sustainable energy access planning (SEAP) is aimed at developing a socially inclusive energy supply system that gives both the poor and the nonpoor sustainable access to at least the minimum amount of energy for their basic needs. This type of planning is also done to identify environmentally sound and climate-friendly technologies and resource options for providing energy access, and the associated investment opportunities.

Unlike traditional energy and electricity planning, SEAP explicitly considers (i) the acceptable minimum level of cleaner-energy services to energy-poor households, as well as the energy demand of the nonpoor; (ii) the interrelationship between affordability and accessibility of cleaner energy to the poor, and hence the need to make cleaner-energy services affordable to the poor; (iii) the costs of both supply-side and demand-side access options (the latter are typically ignored in traditional energy supply planning) to determine the total cost and affordability of basic energy services to a household; and (iv) the sustainability of technology and resource options and their benefits. 

A comprehensive framework has been developed to capture these SEAP features. The proposed SEAP framework, which is discussed in this report, consists of assessments of the following: 

  • Energy poverty.  
  • Energy demand. 
  • Energy resources. 
  • Cost. 
  • Benefits. 
  • Sustainability. 
  • Affordability.  

These assessments are linked—the energy poverty assessment, which defines the size of the energy-poor population, with the energy demand assessment; the latter with the cost assessment, which also relies on technological data and the assessment of resource availability, costs, and economic potential; the cost assessment and its identification of least-cost technology options, with the sustainability, affordability (including the necessary support schemes), and benefit assessments; the sustainability assessment of a technology or an EAP, with resource, cost, benefit, affordability, and other assessments. 

The concluding chapter brings out several issues related to the implementation of the SEAP framework. At the very start of the process, energy-access planners and policy makers must address some policy-related matters on the basis of independent research, national development goals, priorities, and capability, in the absence of universally applicable standards. For example, the acceptable minimum levels of basic energy services, on which the energy poverty and demand assessments are based, can vary between countries and even between subnational regions within a country because of several factors, e.g., types and quantities of food cooked, devices used, and climatic and geographic variations. The maximum acceptable energy burden can also be country specific, reflecting not only national development goals and priorities but also the financial and other capability of governments to sustain efforts to reduce energy poverty.

 

Download the full study here.