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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G06394X/1
Title: Replication of Rural Decentralised off-grid Electricity Generation through Technology and Business Innovation
Principal Investigator: Bahaj, Professor AS
Other Investigators:
Madise, Professor NJ George, Professor G Amoako Johnson, Dr F
Matthews, Professor Z Falkingham, Professor JC James, Professor PAB
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alliance for Rural Electrification East African Energy Tech Dev't Network Eduardo Mondlane University
EUREC Agency International Energy Agency (IEA) Jomo Kenyatta University
Makerere University Norwegian Agency for Development Coopera University of Dar es Salaam
University of Ghana University of Nairobi Utilicom Limited
World Bank, The
Department: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2009 Ends: 30 September 2015 Value (£): 2,540,140
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Power Systems Plant Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Feb 2009 Energy & International Development 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK government through its DFID and EPSRC agencies is supporting research projects which address rural electrification in developing countries. To address this call a consortium of two UK universities (Southampton University and Imperial College), an international sustainable energy consultancy (IT Power) and a development agency (GVEP International) has been formed. Our rationale is that the high up front cost barrier to electrification of areas such as rural East Africa will remain for the foreseeable future. Most projects will continue to require external agency funding (World Bank, EU, DFID etc) and the key issue is to support these initial investments to provide a lasting social, technical, commercial and environmental legacy. The overarching aim of this proposal therefore, is the implementation of sustainable electricity supply systems that promote development and improve wellbeing in communities and can be replicated and improved through business processes. Hence, in our view a proper and a successful rural electrification project should essentially encompass three components: (a) People - delivering on the aspirations of people and providing them with the environment and the tools they need to achieve their goals - social, economic and environmental. This can be both the end users as well as the implementers - both are important to be targeted within an African context.(b) Product - technologies to provide the energy infrastructure people require. A sustainable and modular solution is best suited to rural areas. (c) Process - processes and mechanisms needed to establish robust energy technologies and economic assessment that can deliver social benefits and wealth generation for a community. Such processes and mechanisms can then be learning entities to enable replication and dissemination of sustainable energy projects that can deliver local participation and economic benefits, and drive down the capital and implementation costs. The product (technology) components are considered as relatively well understood. With appropriate funding, community energy supply can be delivered by adopting technologies such as wind, photovoltaics, biomass, micro-hydro or hybrid systems. The business process and connection with people often remains weak and compromises existing rural electrification projects. It is therefore important to understand the changes in business process that need to be made to enable village energy systems to become self supporting and deliver the wider benefits for communities that are often claimed. In addition, it is also necessary to understand which business process is best suited for which type of community and how one progress from the issues of 'one off' projects to deliver replication models that drive down costs, raise quality and local participation, and enhance the quality of life of villagers. All the above is coupled with understanding and quantifying the potential socio-economic impact of improving the wellbeing and the economic prosperity in rural areas in developing countries. These issues are at the centre of this proposal.Our proposal will develop systematic approaches to achieving the aim of the project. The program of work will undertake the electrification of three villages in rural Kenya and assess the impact of the provision of electricity on people's lives against United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Through the program we aim to build capacity with partner countries and organisations. To deliver this, the progress of the project will be disseminated through a specially formulated open network of academics and stakeholders, initially across Africa as well as specially designed workshops to be held in Africa over the five year program period.
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