Transforming access to clean technology: learning from Lighting Africa

Ockwell, David, Byrne, Robert, Chengo, Victoria, Onsongo, Elsie, Fodio Todd, Jacob and Atela, Joanes (2019) Transforming access to clean technology: learning from Lighting Africa. Working Paper. STEPS Centre, Brighton.

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UK AID has recently invested in a new £39.8 million programme that aims to transform access to modern energy cooking services, or MECS, in Africa and Asia. In this working paper we demonstrate how reframing our understanding of how transformations happen in access to clean energy technologies, foregrounding the social and the political, together with more sophisticated, systemic understandings of how sustained technological change and innovation occurs, can increase the chances of transformative change that is environmentally sustainable and socially just. This moves beyond the largely unsuccessful track record of past interventions that tended to focus only on technology hardware and finance.

The working paper analyses the case of Lighting Africa, which successfully transformed access to solar lighting in Kenya and, as far as we are aware, conceptualises and illustrates for the first time Lighting Africa’s approach. This builds on past STEPS research that focusses on building sociotechnical innovation systems.

The paper then compares the existing and planned activities of the MECS Programme in order to facilitate learning looking forward. This analysis is assisted by consideration of the important ways in which cooking as an energy service, and its related social practices, differs from lighting. It is also assisted by analysis of some critical social justice and political dimensions that were not explicitly addressed by Lighting Africa.

As well as making substantive recommendations for the future operation of this £39.8 million programme of research and delivery, the working paper provides a useful illustration of how the STEPS Pathways Approach can contribute to applied analyses of policy and practice.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Research Centres and Groups: Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Centre
The Sussex Energy Group
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Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 12:41
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2019 12:41

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