What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people, and are interventions to overcome these effective?

Watson, Jim, Byrne, Robert, Morgan Jones, Molly, Tsang, Flavia, Opazo, Jose, Fry, Caroline and Castle-Clarke, Sophie (2012) What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world’s poorest people, and are interventions to overcome these effective? Project Report. Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, Bangor.

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Background: A lack of access to modern energy services among the world‟s poor is widely recognised to have negative impacts on their health, education and quality of life, further deepening and entrenching their poverty. However, despite the long-standing efforts of many national and international organisations to improve the accessibility of the poor to modern energy services, progress has been slow. Given the uneven record of interventions over many years, there is a large body of literature that attempts to identify what is preventing success, and what policies might be implemented to realise widespread access to modern energy services for the world‟s poor.
Methods: The review was performed in order to answer the question: (i) “What are the major barriers to increased use of modern energy services among the world‟s poorest people”, and (ii) “are interventions to overcome these effective?” A structured, systematic review of academic and gray literature in developing economies, including the BRICS countries, was conducted according to a detailed search protocol including five sets of search terms relating to modern energy services, modern energy technologies, barriers, interventions, and effectiveness measures. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted to triangulate the literature searches and findings. Retrieved papers were then systematically reviewed and included in the study according to a detailed set of criteria related to relevance to the topic of barriers to, and interventions for, modern energy services, in particular in relation to interventions and lessons learned, geographic focus, and quality. Papers which met the topical criteria as well as a rigorous set of quality criteria for methodological robustness were qualitatively analysed and synthesised in a single coherent narrative.
Results: Despite the large body of work analysing barriers and interventions to using modern energy services, there is a highly uneven spread of coverage and a significant lack of high quality research. Much of the literature focuses on financial barriers and interventions, electricity services, a few technologies, and a small number of developing countries. Cost of electricity is certainly too high for most poor people in developing countries but interventions that seem to be more successful tend to address multiple factors, suggesting that there is a need for broader analyses. We tentatively conclude that the high-quality evidence base, as it stands, seems to be insufficiently robust to inform integrated policies to enable the world‟s poorest people to transform their lives through the use of the full range of modern energy services.
Conclusions: Barriers and interventions interact and are inter-related, as well as being dependent in important ways on the political, cultural and social context in which they arise or are implemented. To understand these complexities, and raise the chances that poor people can make transformational use of modern energy services, analyses of barriers and implementation of interventions need to be much more integrative. The review concludes with implications for policy, management and research that flow from this more general strategy.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Project Report)
Additional Information: Systematic Review
Keywords: Modern energy services; Modern energy technologies; barriers; interventions; developing countries; Sub-Saharan Africa; seg
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Jim Watson
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2012 09:09
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 08:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39843

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