Energy poverty and development in Papua New Guinea: learning from the teacher's solar lighting project

Sovacool, Benjamin K (2013) Energy poverty and development in Papua New Guinea: learning from the teacher's solar lighting project. Forum for Development Studies, 40 (2). pp. 327-349. ISSN 0803-9410

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Energy poverty – lack of access to electricity and dependence on traditional fuels for cooking and heating – afflicts billions of people globally. For these communities, the search for energy fuels and services is an arduous, daily grind. Small-scale, off-grid renewable energy technologies such as solar home lighting kits (SHLKs) offer the ability to generate electricity and provide reliable energy services. This study explores a national program in Papua New Guinea (PNG) intended to distribute SHLKs to rural schoolteachers known as the Teacher's Solar Lighting Project (TSLP). With support from international donors, the $3 million TSLP was hoped to distribute SHLKs to 2,500 teachers, catalyze the dissemination of 14,500 units, and jumpstart a self-sustaining local market for solar equipment. By the project's close, however, only one SHLK had actually been sold – less than one ten thousandth of the original target. This study explores why. It begins by justifying the selection of SHLKs and PNG before describing the research methods utilized by the author, primarily field research, research interviews, and a literature review. It then analyzes the design and implementation of the SHLK before moving into the technical, economic, social, and political reasons it failed to achieve its targets. It concludes by highlighting the relevance of the SHLK for broader energy development assistance and energy policy-making efforts, since reliable and affordable energy supply is a key component of economic development.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Benjamin Sovacool
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 08:07
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2016 15:56
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