Replication of Rural Off-Grid Electricity

Principal Investigator: Professor Gerry George

Researchers: Dr Jane KhayesiDr Antoine Vernet

Funder: EPSRC

Duration: October 2009 – September 2015

Reliable and affordable sources of energy are fundamental not only for our wellbeing, but also for economic growth and poverty reduction. Energy plays a central role in our everyday life. Fulfilling the energy needs of developing countries without compromising their environment, through the effects of factors such as deforestation and monoculture agriculture is a difficult challenge. Yet the introduction of energy systems must be accompanied by the development of business processes that will allow sustainable replication and rigorous impact assessment to quantify their effects on quality of life, the environment and how beneficiaries of energy services are affected.

This project will establish and implement easy to replicate, sustainable decentralised off-grid electricity generation which promotes development and improves well-being in rural communities in East Africa so as to arrive at optimum solutions to the provision of electricity that take into account the social and cultural organisation of the target community and establishes a matrix of appropriate mechanisms (technical, financial, and socio economic) that will deliver the greatest benefits to people.

Electricity supply solutions will be tailored to meet the productivity needs of target communities via easy to apply tools, developed within this program, to ensure long term financial viability whilst addressing the associated societal and health impacts. This aim will be achieved through the following objectives:

Key Research Questions

  • What are the technological and logistic pathways for the provision of sustainable energy systems in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • How can we implement optimised ‘deployment projects’ that provide electricity in two rural communities in Kenya and quantify their development effects over appropriate timescales.
  • What are the systematic methodologies of assessment, validated through observations and evaluation of technology characteristics and business processes to deploy projects in regions.
  • Which technical and economic models are required for technology implementation and a reduction in capital costs and associated subsidies taking into account local needs, and infrastructure required for off-grid electricity generation?