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Productive use of energy – Pathway to development? Reviewing the outcomes and impacts of small-scale energy projects in the global south

Julia Terrapon-Pfaff, Marie-Christine Gröne, Carmen Dienst and Willington Ortiz

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2018, vol. 96, issue C, 198-209

Abstract: It is widely recognised that access to sustainable and affordable energy services is a crucial factor in reducing poverty and enhancing development. Accordingly, various positive effects beyond simple access to energy are associated with the implementation of sustainable energy projects. One of these assumed positive outcomes is the productive use of energy, which is expected to create value – for example in the form of increased local availability of goods or higher incomes – thereby having a positive impact on local livelihoods. Many projects and programmes are based on such expectations regarding the productive use of energy but systematic evidence of these outcomes and impacts is still limited. This study analyses the results of an impact evaluation of 30 small-scale energy development projects to better understand whether and how the supply of sustainable energy services supports productive use activities and whether these activities have the expected positive impacts on local livelihoods. A contribution analysis is applied to systematically evaluate the impact pathways for the productive use of energy. The results show that access to sustainable energy does not automatically result in productive activities and that energy is only one of the input factors required to foster socio-economic development. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that activities, materials and information to support the productive use of energy – such as training, equipment or market research – need to be an integrated part of the energy project itself to allow for productive activities to develop on a wider scale.

Keywords: Impact evaluation; Productive use; Contribution analysis; Small-scale energy projects; Sustainability; Developing countries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2018.07.016

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