Sustainable energy for whom? Governing pro-poor pathways to low carbon energy for development

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David Ockwell and Robert Byrne (University of Sussex/ STEPS Centre) gave this presentation at King's College London on 25 February 2014 as part of the Environment, Politics and Development Research Group seminar series.

Despite the potential development benefits of low carbon energy technologies, existing international policy has failed to deliver against the needs of low income countries or poor and marginalised people therein. This seminar presents (and seeks feedback on) preliminary findings from a CDKN-funded project on off-grid solar electrical services in Kenya (see http://steps-centre.org/project/low_carbon_development/ ). Utilising the STEPS Centre’s Pathways Approach, it is argued that the failure of existing policy stems from its tendency to frame low carbon development as a problem of financing low carbon hardware transfer to developing countries. Alternative conceptual framings, building on insights from innovation studies and socio-technical transitions, applied to in-depth historical analysis of the successful adoption of off-grid solar in Kenya, suggest neither hardware financing policies nor the free market are likely to result in widespread uptake of low carbon energy technologies amongst poor countries and poor people therein. Instead, interventions should seek to act as “innovation system builders” with an explicit focus on building inclusive innovation systems via a range of specific capacity building approaches.

Dr David Ockwell is a Senior Lecturer in the Dept of Geography at the University of Sussex and co-convenes the STEPS Centre’s energy and climate domain. He’s also affiliated to the Sussex Energy Group and the Tyndall Centre. David’s research focuses on low carbon development with particular recent emphasis on the implications of international policy in terms of poverty and social justice.


Dr Rob Byrne is a Research Fellow in SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research) at the University of Sussex. He co-convenes the STEPS Centre’s energy and climate domain with David and is also affiliated to the Sussex Energy Group and the Tyndall Centre. Rob’s research focuses on low carbon development with a particular empirical focus on off-grid solar electrical services in East Africa where he has worked both as a practitioner installing solar home systems as well as conducting academic research on this issue

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Sustainable energy for whom? Governing pro-poor pathways to low carbon energy for development

  1. 1. Sustainable energy for whom? Governing pro-poor pathways to low carbon energy for development Dr David Ockwell, Dr Rob Byrne, Prof Kevin Urama February 2014 D.G.Ockwell@sussex.ac.uk
  2. 2. www.steps-centre.org/project/low_carbon_development
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. Overview 1. Pathways to low carbon development (Stirling 2012) 2. Dominant framing: Hardware financing 3. Alternative 1: Building innovation capacities 4. Alternative 2: Socio-technical nature of change & development 5. Our Kenya study 6. Implications for policy and research
  5. 5. Multiple Pathways to “Low Carbon Development” - What? For who? How?
  6. 6. Multiple Pathways to “Low Carbon Development” - What? For who? How? - Multiple configurations of energy services, access, behaviour, technologies….
  7. 7. Intended and unintended processes and power ‘close down’ pathways Social expectations, cultural norms
  8. 8. Intended and unintended processes and power ‘close down’ pathways Historical contingency: Path dependence
  9. 9. Intended and unintended processes and power ‘close down’ pathways Politics: Interests, power – who frames the problem?
  10. 10. Intended and unintended processes and power ‘close down’ pathways Economics: Lock-in to inferior technologies – even in competitive markets
  11. 11. Dominant framing: Hardware financing Internalise positive externalities (carbon mitigation) to cover additional cost of low carbon technologies Hardware financing policies e.g. CDM
  12. 12. Accumulated investment through the CDM in countries and regions as at end of January 2014 (http://www.cdmpipeline.org) Key ROW: Rest of the World CDM USD pc (2014) India 11% 154 6.15 25 Mexico 104 3.86 27 100 2.13 47 31 1.62 19 Africa Brazil 6% Mexico 3% China India ROW 17% USD pt CO2 Brazil Africa 3% CO2 tpc (2010) 10 1.09 9 China 60% Sources: Authors, based on analysis of the CDM pipeline; World Development Indicators; http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/world_population.htm
  13. 13. CDM project investment per tonne CO2 emissions 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Brazil Mexico China India Africa Source: Authors, based on analysis of the CDM pipeline
  14. 14. CDM registered projects per country for Africa South Africa Egypt Morocco Tunisia Algeria Libya Kenya Uganda Nigeria Côte d'Ivoire Rwanda Senegal Madagascar Tanzania Cameroon Congo DR Ethiopia Mauritius Zambia Ghana Mozambique Sudan Lesotho Namibia Zimbabwe Namibia Cape Verde Liberia Mali Niger Sierra Leone 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 14 6 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 19 10 13 54 17 Source: Authors, based on analysis of the CDM pipeline
  15. 15. Number of registered CDM projects as at end of January 2014, by project type (7412 total registered projects) (http://www.cdmpipeline.org) Wind Hydro Methane avoidance Biomass energy Landfill gas Solar EE own generation N2O Fossil fuel switch EE industry EE households Coal bed/mine methane EE supply side Fugitive Reforestation Geothermal Transport HFCs Cement EE service Energy distribution Afforestation Mixed renewables CO2 usage Tidal Agriculture 2355 2012 632 632 356 354 305 104 96 93 84 84 61 43 42 33 28 22 22 16 15 10 8 3 1 1 • 90% registered CDM projects use seven types of technology • Only two new renewable energy technologies (although wind is mature relative to other new renewables) • Solar about 5% of portfolio Source: Authors, based on analysis of the CDM pipeline
  16. 16. Building innovation capacities Technology suppliers Supplier firms’ engineering, managerial and other technological capabilities Technology transferred Flow A Flow B Flow C Capital goods, services & designs Technology importers New production capacity Skills & know-how for operation & maintenance Knowledge & expertise behind technology Accumulation of innovation capacities
  17. 17. Building innovation systems Technology transfer Capital goods, services & designs National Innovation System New production capacity Skills & know-how for operation & maintenance Knowledge & expertise behind technology Indigenous support for technological capabilities Accumulation of innovation capacity
  18. 18. Accumulated investment through the CDM in countries and regions as at end of January 2014 (http://www.cdmpipeline.org) Key ROW: Rest of the World 154 6.15 25 104 3.86 27 100 2.13 47 31 1.62 19 Africa India 11% China India Brazil 6% Mexico 3% Ratio: USD / Brazil ROW 17% CO2 tpc (2010) Mexico Africa 3% CDM USD pc (2014) 10 1.09 9 tCO2 China 60% Sources: Authors, based on analysis of the CDM pipeline; World Development Indicators; http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/world_population.htm
  19. 19. Socio-technical nature of change & development
  20. 20. Socio-technical nature of change & development
  21. 21. Socio-technical nature of change & development
  22. 22. Research questions Case study: • PV based electrical services in Kenya • Per capita = most successful global market for off-grid PV Source: Ondraczek, J. (2013) “The sun rises in the east (of Africa): A comparison of the development and status of solar energy markets in Kenya and Tanzania”, Energy Policy 56: 409
  23. 23. Research questions Case study: • PV based electrical services in Kenya • Per capita = most successful global market for off-grid PV Research questions: What factors can explain the success of the off-grid PV market in Kenya? • What role has hardware financing played? • What technological capacity building activities can be identified? • Can “innovation system builders” be identified? • How can this inform policy (especially Climate Innovation Centres)?
  24. 24. Methodology • In-depth historical analysis • Innovation Histories Method (Douthwaite & Ashby 2005) • Stakeholder workshop & in-depth interviews • Detailed timeline of PV market development • Interrogation against research questions
  25. 25. Snap shot of time line Date 1978 (Henry Watitwa) August 1982 (Enos Orongo) Description Others involved Significance Documents Brother used dry cell with wires to light a spot light bulb in our room Friends and other brothers For fun – indicates Personal memory interest in, and motivation awareness of, electricity (power was only in selected houses in town, institutions and Government buildings) Failed Coup Contextual event Stimulated Government directive to increase TV network country wide Possible press reports? Elaborations There was no solar.
  26. 26. Summary of Kenyan PV market evolution • • • Over 300,000 SHSs in Kenya now Birth of market in mid-1980s From 1990s, Energy Alternatives Africa managed many projects – Donor-funded, multi-stakeholder market and technology RD&D – Articulated market demand and supply chain – Some technology development success • • – Lighting Africa built on this, other players now in the market Chinese interest in PV manufacture failed but Dutch-Kenyan joint venture now in Naivasha Climate Innovation Centre underway
  27. 27. PVMTI vs LA: An illustration from solar in Kenya
  28. 28. Different framings CDM: Funding for one-off, international hardware investments Lighting Africa: Building indigenous technological capacities & innovation systems
  29. 29. Different framings: Different distribution of benefits CDM: Private investors, China, India, Brazil Lighting Africa: Poor countries, poor people
  30. 30. Different framings: Different distribution of benefits
  31. 31. Conclusion: Pro-poor pathways to low carbon development? www.steps-centre.org/project/low_carbon_development
  32. 32. Policy recommendations j www.steps-centre.org/project/low_carbon_development 1. Market forces will not deliver on their own. 2. Policy must foster capacities by: • Building networks that link diverse stakeholders • Conducting market & technological research & monitoring, making results publicly available • Raising awareness among consumers & investors to reduce perceived risks & build shared visions • Fund experimental initiatives (e.g. new stakeholder configurations to test new technologies and approaches) 3. National institutions like Climate Innovation Centres could achieve this, but must be designed to do so. They should link across countries to learn lessons and share best practice.

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