The Energy, Poverty and Development group is concerned with energy issues that affect sustainable development and improved livelihoods for poorer communities in South Africa and other developing countries.
Current research topics are:
- low-carbon development, mitigation and poverty
- household energy interventions and policies
- community development in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RE IPPPP)
- energy access
The research generally includes a process of feedback to national policy-makers and energy supply agencies. The experiences gained through our fieldwork and policy research are carried into the ERC Masters programme, to reach a wider spread of energy/development students and professionals from South Africa and other countries. Capacity-building and information services are also provided for groups of people involved in improved energy for the poor, such as end-users, community leaders, schools, local government and energy suppliers.
Over the last decade, important research areas have included
- assessing energy needs, resources, consumption patterns and opportunities among low-income rural and urban communities monitoring and assessing energy supply programmes aimed at assisting the poor
- in particular, tracking the progress of electrification programmes (both grid and non-grid electrification) and promoting a broader integrated development approach
- targeted research around themes like energy subsidies for the poor, gender dimension, energy poverty, the benefits/constraints of using renewable energy, and impacts of energy sector re-structuring on access to energy for the poor
- action research programmes helping people in poor communities to improve their energy supplies and use (in co-operation with energy suppliers and government)