Autumn 2000 Number 45
Low-cost electrification for household energy
In this edition…
IT Consultants (ITC) is the consulting arm of the Intermediate Technology Development Group; a resumé of the work of ITC can be seen on the back page of this issue. Our theme editor for this edition is Dr Rona Wilkinson, who is Energy Programme Manager for ITC. Her work includes project management, facilitating and running workshops/training sessions, and policy advice and dissemination, within the areas of renewable energy and rural electrification – we are very pleased that she agreed to be theme editor for this edition. As this is such a new field for Boiling Point, most of the edition is theme material – but please don't miss two excellent articles at the end – again on important subjects which have not been addressed lately. A very practical article on making low-cost grates to improve combustion efficiency of stoves, and another article on passive solar heating of water.
Technical enquiries to ITDG
If you have any technical enquiries, ITDG’s Technical Enquiry Service should be able to help you. ITDG has extensive contacts worldwide, and can respond on a wide variety of development topics. A unit specializing in energy topics is particularly able to help in the household energy field. Please send all enquiries to: The Technical Enquiry Service, Intermediate Technology Development Group, Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development, Bourton Hall, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, CV23 9QZ, UK Tel: +44 (0)1788 661100, Fax: +44 (0)1788 661101 Email: email@example.com (Please give your postal, as well as your email address)
Editorial and Production Team
Elizabeth Bates Rona Wilkinson Karin Roeske Cornelia Sepp & Annette Emrich Smail Khennas Carole Trigg Tamsyn Barton – – – – – – – Editor Theme editor GTZ representative GTZ editors Senior energy specialist; French résumé author Administration secretary Head of Technology unit
Contributions to Boiling Point
You are invited to send articles for the next two issues of Boiling Point, the themes of which will be: q BP46: Household energy and the vulnerable. For those people and communities who have particular needs, access to household energy may be a major factor in their lives. This edition of Boiling Point will be dedicated to looking at those problems and possible coping strategies. BP46 will look at sectors of the community for whom access to energy is a particular problem such as: the elderly who are alone; children who have to fend for themselves; people with physical and mental disabilities; those who suffer long-term illness. The edition will also look at vulnerable communities, for example: those which are particularly isolated, and for whom climatic changes have had a major adverse impact; those urban communities for whom no formal tenancy arrangements, or their status, make access to energy difficult. q BP47: Household energy and enterprise. For many people, the income that they generate comes from work done at the household level. The energy involved in these enterprises can be a substantial part of their household energy needs – such as for commercial baking, food processing, crop drying, producing street foods etc. Others may make a living providing energy for household use. This edition will look at ways in which energy and enterprise are related within the household context. Articles should be no more than 1500 words in length. Illustrations, such as drawings, photographs, graphs and bar charts, are essential. Articles can be submitted as typescripts, on disc (preferably WORD), or by e-mail. All correspondence should be addressed to: Boiling Point Editor, Intermediate Technology, Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development, Bourton Hall, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, CV23 9QZ, UK, or by e-mail to
Boiling Point is the journal of the Intermediate Technology Development Group’s Energy programme, and the Household Energy Programme (HEP) of GTZ, Germany. Typesetting by My Word!, Rugby, printing by Neil Terry Printing, Rugby. Opinions expressed in contributory aricles are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of ITDG or GTZ. We do not charge a subscription to Boiling Point, but would welcome donations to cover the cost of production and dispatch.
Back issues of Boiling Point
If you would like a copy of any back issues, please contact us. Multiple copies will be charged at £2 per copy plus postage. A detailed index of all Boiling Point articles is also available. Boiling Point appears on the CD-Rom ‘Humanity Development Library’, with an excellent search facility. For further information contact Global Help Project vzw and Humanity CD Ltd, Oosterveldlaan 196, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium. Tel: 32–3–448–05–54 Fax: 32–3–449–75–74 or e-mail 20 – Non-biomass Stoves 21 – Stoves, Energy and the Environment 22 – Other Uses for Stoves 23 – Measures of Success 24 – Solar Energy 25 – Funding for Stove Programmes 26 – Technology and Design Transfer 27 – Women, Woodfuel, Work and Welfare 28 – Biomass Combustion, Chimneys and Hoods 29 – Household Energy Developments in Southern and East Africa 30 – Sales and Subsidies 31 – Clays for Stoves 32 – Energy for the Household 33 – Household Energy Developments in Asia 34 – Smoke Removal 35 – How Much Can NGOs Achieve 36 – Solar Energy in the Home 37 – Household Energy in Emergency Situations 38 – Household Energy in High Cold Regions 39 – Using Biomass Residues for Energy 40 – Household energy and health 41 – Household energy: the urban dimension 42 – Household energy and the environment 43 – Fuel options for household energy 44 – Linking household energy with other development objectives
Cover photo: Installation of power lines and street lighting from micro-hydro, Peru (ITDG Peru K1.10)
Low-cost electrification; the need for access to energy services
by Rona Wilkinson
Introduction: Lack of access
Rural areas in developing countries have limited access to all types of services – health, clean water supplies, communication and roads. This is also true for the provision of energy services, for domestic use, communications, agriculture and income generating activities. It is estimated that around two billion people do not have access to grid electricity; in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that the percentage of the population that is connected to the grid is between 4% and 25%, and the majority of those live in urban areas.
Electrification à bas coût et accès aux services dérivés de l’énergie Environ deux miiliards d’êtres humains n’ont pas accès à l’électricité pour satisfaire les besoins énergétiques de base et fournir l’énergie à des activités productives. Les systèmes décentralisés sont une autre alternative basée sur les ressources hydrauliques, solaires, éoliennes ou l’utilisation de groupes électrogènes. Leur succès est cependant conditionnné par plusieurs facteurs non techniques notamment: l’intégration avec d’autres projets de développement, l’évaluation des besoins, la gestion de l’énergie, le financement et l’appui institutionnel, la participation des communautés, la capacité à payer et le niveau des tarifs.
Electricity can provide some of the fundamental energy services required by rural communities:
wind power. However if such resources are not available, then the use of diesel generators is another option. In terms of the services provided, off-grid options are often limited to lighting and communication, especially for solar PV and systems that use batteries to supply electricity, as the amount of power they can produce is limited.
Critical success factors
There are various constraints in providing electricity to rural areas. Grid extension has traditionally been seen as the only way to deliver electricity to the population. However, low population density, hard terrain and low levels of demand make it uneconomic to extend the grid to many areas. Harper gives an example, where even though the grid has been extended to villages in Orissa, problems have been experienced with non-payment and electricity theft. De-centralised schemes are one alternative, and there are a number of success stories all over the world, as shown in many of the articles in this issue. However, there are a number of aspects that have to be addressed for an off-grid scheme to be sustainable and successful.
at a domestic household level for lighting, radio and television, ironing, fans, etc. at a community level for clinics, schools, shops, and street lights for productive end uses and income generation through milling, crop processing, battery charging, workshop services
Options for supply of electricity
Electricity can be supplied through the grid or through decentralised schemes, where the source of the electrical power is located in a specific community or even in an individual household. In the latter case, renewable energy sources provide the most attractive means of providing this energy, through hydro, solar or Boiling Point No 45 Autumn 2000
Integration with other development projects As described in the article by McMenemy the most successful energy projects are those that are integrated with other development priorities and projects.- electricity tends to stimulate development projects rather than initiate them. For instance a hydropower scheme can often be built on the back of a water supply project and provide greater benefits. Needs assessment and energy management Irvine Halliday et al look at the importance of carrying out a proper energy needs assessment within a community, looking at consumption, demand and needs and also how to deal with users wanting more electricity than they can afford to pay for. Financing options and institutional support
These are highlighted by Costa and Eck who give an overall view of what is required for a successful de-centralised electrification scheme, drawing on their experience in North East Brazil. These aspects for success include:
Rural energy development: an integrated approach in Nepal
by C. McMenemy1, M. Williamson and F. Vitez2 1 Christopher McMenemy was a geography Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, studying energy and community issues in Nepal and northern India, when he and three others were killed in a yachting accident off the Dutch coast in August 2000. At the time of his death, this article was a work in progress. It is based on the paper he presented at the World Renewable Energy Congress held in Brighton, UK, July 2000 2 Lamjung Electricity Development Company, PO Box 5926, Kathmandu, Nepal This article discusses two case studies in Nepal
the Community Based Economic Development Project – CBED in Jumla the Community-Based Integrated Energy Planning Project – CBIEP in Lamjung
Développement de l’énergie rurale au Népal: une approche intégrée Cet article passe en revue l’expérience de deux récents projets énergétiques de développement au Népal. Les deux projets ont pour objectif la réduction de la pauvreté dans des zones physiquement isolées et économiquement marginalisées. Selon cet article, les effets des projets sont optimums si les besoins énergétiques de base sont intégrés avec des objectifs productifs. Afin de minimiser les risques, un effort substantiel doit être accordé aux institutions locales et régionales.
These projects focused mainly on the development of communityowned micro-hydro power systems (MHP- see Figure 2), which can be used for lighting, but could also be used for mechanical end-uses. (Two of the more common end uses are grinding and oil expelling.)
Development Project (CBED)
CBED is a medium-sized development project run by the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, a Canadian INGO based out of Montreal. The project is being conducted in three Districts in Western Development Zone of Nepal over a period of six years (1995-2001) with a budget of US$5 million. This paper focuses only on the MHP initiatives in one District, Jumla (Figure
3), which is one of the poorest areas in the country where;
The majority of the population are poor farmers. The average household income is Rs. 40,000 per year (£365 or $590) Both assets and income are distributed relatively equitably
Project 1: CommunityBased Economic
The goal of the CBED project is to ‘build and strengthen Community Based Organisations (CBOs) so that they can develop as viable economic institutions, capable of effectively managing natural resources, improving socio-economic conditions in their communities and interacting productively with local elected officials and government agencies at the district level ‘ The strategy is to form organisations such as NGOs or co-operatives that can provide a link between the users and the state. To date, the project has generally been successful – the production and sales of cash crops has increased; MHPs have been built and are operating reasonably well; and numerous workshops have been held with the state and local officials; and it is wellreceived among villagers.
Figure 1: Map of Nepal
Project 2:CommunityBased Integrated Energy Planning Project (CBIEP)
Boiling Point No 45 Autumn 2000
Long-term: improve the ability of communities to plan for the sustainable use of local energy resources.
The project sought to achieve these goals through the establishment of Village Energy and Environment Committees (VEECs) that would serve:
as intermediaries between the community, the state and manufacturers; centres of local knowledge about energy; long-term decision-making bodies
Figure 2: 10kW micro-hydro power system
Micro-hydro infrastructure three main aims:
The district is fairly wealthy due to its proximity with the road, existence of army pensions and a reasonably developed infrastructure (e.g. phones, some irrigation). The literacy rate is 42%. On average people have more land per household and a large number of people are
Short-term: through participatory planning, develop an energy management strategy for two Village Development Committees (VDCs) – Kolki and Ilampokhari
The number of failed rural energy projects is evidence that the provision of energy infrastructure alone is not enough to bring about these aims. The questions still facing us – as implementers, planners and technologists – is; how does energy infrastructure fulfil development objectives? How do we ensure that development is positive for the greatest number?
Figure 3: The village of Huri in Patrasi, Jumla
Boiling Point No 45 Autumn 2000
The CBIEP was conducted by the Lamjung Electricity Development Company (LEDCO) in the District of Lamjung, Nepal. LEDCO is a private Nepalese company, owned by a group of investors from Lamjung District. The social and economic conditions in Lamjung are relatively better than in Jumla (Figure 4):
able to grow enough food for their own consumption. The goal of the project was to implement MHP systems so that the plantsa range of renewable energy systems that could support themselves financially. Therefore, the project sought to develop an energy strategy that was integrated with local economic development objectives. The specific goals of the project were:
providing for basic needs; improving economic and agricultural productivity; improving human capabilities through the developing of new businesses/markets