- Start date: 1 May 2018
- End date: 30 April 2021
- Funder: EPSRC
- Value: £1.26m
- Partners and collaborators: Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), Uganda; Dar-es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), Tanzania; Marien Ngouabi University, Congo-Brazzaville; Resilience Development Initiative (RDI), Indonesia
- Primary investigator: Professor Jon Lovett
- External co-investigators: Mrs Mary Suzan Abbo (CREEC), Dr Consalva Msigwa (DIT), Professor Bernard M'Passi-Mabiala (UMN), Dr Elizabeth Rianawati (RDI)
The overall goal of this project is to enable the development of sustainable and resilient energy distribution grids in rural communities of the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) Tanzania, Uganda and Republic of the Congo, where currently at most 10% of the rural population has access to electricity.
The project’s aim is to improve access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, which is UN Sustainable Development Goal 7. Globally, one in five people still lack access to modern electricity, and 3 billion people rely on traditional fuels for heating and cooking.
Small-scale renewable energy technologies are now available at an affordable price, and it is no longer necessary to have a costly centralised energy infrastructure, particularly one powered by fossil fuels with the consequent influence on climate change.
The research follows an integrated approach to ensure that the design of the system is maintainable, has good longevity with low cost, meets diverse community energy needs and is resilient to natural hazards. This holistic approach is driven by the understanding that the creation of a truly sustainable, reliable, and locally maintainable energy distribution infrastructure needs to be focused on actual needs and local realities, beyond a purely electrical perspective.
The long term impact of the project will be to:
- Provide sustainable, resilient energy supplies in LMICs using low-cost micro-grids; this will help alleviate poverty and improve health.
- Enable self-sustained energy infrastructure development by building capacity within the partner countries, including developing skilled researchers, educators and entrepreneurs.
- Establish governance, financing and operational arrangements that are organised for small-scale renewable energy systems, and that can be implemented both by local businesses and communities.
The project will achieve this through establishing an international network for stakeholder engagement and knowledge transfer; capacity building through open access online training courses; and public engagement and dissemination of information through internet resources and social media.