Energy in developing countries

The provision of sufficient, sustainable, reliable and affordable modern energy services is a priority for countries across the world.  ICEPT’s Energy in Developing Countries theme addresses a wide range of the particular difficulties faced by developing and emerging economies, combining technical, environmental and social dimensions. Research topics range from energy access for the urban and rural poor, to market and regulatory reform, interactions with agricultural and forestry systems, biomass supply chains, innovation systems, and strategies for climate change mitigation and adaption.

At the national and regional levels ICEPT has special interests in sustainable livelihoods, off-grid solutions for remote areas, integrated food-fuel bioenergy systems and land-use dynamics.  Our interdisciplinary group employs and develops approaches for areas of research such as technoeconomic analysis, energy and climate assessment modelling, decision-support systems, life cycle assessment, environmental management and impact assessment, and sustainability assessment. Extensive work has been conducted in partnership with government bodies, universities and implementing agencies in Latin America and Africa, with some in the Middle East, South Asia and China.


People and publications


Academic staff

Research staff

Honorary and visiting appointments

PhD students

Projects and publications

ICEPT is active in international initiatives to address global energy and environmental challenges.  Dr Jeremy Woods sits on the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and the Royal Society’s DfID Africa Capacity Building Initiative Assessment Panel.  Dr Rocio Diaz-Chavez participates in expert groups for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Global Bioenergy Partnership, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials and the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). 

Other partners for whom we have researched energy issues in developing countries include the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), International Energy Agency (IEA), Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), UK Department for International Development (DfID), UK International Climate Fund, World Resources Institute, EIT Climate-KIC, Shell, Ernst and Young, FAPESP, CLIMACT, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Recent projects

COP21 Climate Change Calculator (2015)

Together with the Financial Times, Climate-KIC and the Indian Institute of Science, ICEPT developed the COP21 Climate Change Calculator, an interactive online tool to explore the impacts of national greenhouse gas reduction efforts on global temperatures over 2013-2100.  This project was funded by the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment.

The Global Calculator (2013-2015)

ICEPT led the development of land, food, bioenergy and greenhouse gas removal for The Global Calculator, a free, interactive and open-source model of the world's energy, land and food systems.  The Global Calculator allows users to explore the options for reducing global emissions to 2050, and to see the climate consequences of these choices to 2100. It was developed by an international team with funding from the UK Government’s International Climate Fund and EIT Climate-KIC. 

Bioenergy in developing countries (ongoing)

ICEPT has longstanding research activities investigating the opportunities, barriers and impacts of bioenergy deployment in developing countries, with a particular focus on Latin America and Africa.  Recent publications include:

Renewable Energy for Sustainable Livelihoods (RESURL) (ongoing)

Focussing on Latin America, ICEPT developed a methodology for selecting energy technologies to improve rural livelihoods and contributed to a UNEP study of enabling frameworks for renewable technologies.

UK-UAE IRENA Low Carbon Policy Collaboration (2010-2013)

Working in collaboration with IRENA and funded by DECC, ICEPT delivered projects investigating the socioeconomic impacts of large-scale wind and solar, policy evaluation metrics, innovation frameworks for Latin American biofuels, institutional barriers to rural electrification in Senegal and renewable energy toolkits.