Publications

Catalyzing Climate Finance for Low-Carbon Agriculture Enterprises

Despite minimal contributions to causing climate change, rural households working in the agriculture sector are disproportionately impacted by climate-related shocks and see it as one of the biggest risks to their livelihoods.

COVID-19 and Distributed Renewables: How the Crisis Has Affected the Sector and What It Means for People, the Planet, and the Future of Energy Access

Over the course of 2021, the James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke University (EAP) convened three dialogues with a range of distributed renewable energy stakeholders representing research, business, investor, nonprofit, and policymaker perspectives. One of these sessions was a public event at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland—co-organized by Bboxx and EAP. The purpose of these conversations was to discuss the major impacts, lessons and narratives emerging within the sector in the wake of a period of great upheaval.

Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 2 – Balancing Competition and Subsidy: Assessing Mini-Grid Incentive Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa

This policy brief summarizes a review of 20 mini-grid incentive programs in sub-Saharan Africa, 17 of which are still being implemented. The programs analyzed primarily used one of two mechanisms to stimulate investment: auction programs and results-based financing (RBF) programs.

Business Model Innovations for Utility and Mini-Grid Integration: Insights from the Utilities 2.0 Initiative in Uganda

The historical context from which many African utilities have emerged has left a challenging legacy regarding the provision of energy service delivery to all. As rural electrification receives growing attention, a wave of decentralised renewable energy (DRE) technologies and business models are changing the energy service delivery landscape.

This Energy Insight focuses specifically on the opportunities for distribution utilities and mini-grid developers to collaborate.

Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 1: What the Electrification Experiences of Seven Countries Tell Us about the Future of Connection Costs, Subsidies, and Integrated Planning

This brief explores the successful rural electrification experiences of seven case countries—Brazil, Chile, Laos, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Tunisia—looking specifically at the cost of connections and how subsidies and public financing were deployed to address the affordability challenge and facilitate energy access.

The Energy Access Dividend in Honduras and Haiti

Governments face important decisions regarding how to balance power quality, quantity, and reliability priorities with how to ensure all populations receive access as quickly as possible. Identifying the pathway that best fits the needs of the country requires a detailed understanding of the benefits that accrue to different populations under different scenarios and timelines. The Energy Access Dividend in Honduras and Haiti develops a methodology to quantify and monetize benefits generated through accelerated electricity access.

Profits and Productivity: Stimulating Electricity Demand in Low-Income Settings

As electricity companies in low- and middle-income countries move deeper into rural regions, the cost of new connections generally increases while the electricity demanded by these new customers remains lower than urban and peri-urban customers. This is a challenging dynamic for utilities looking to sustain their financial health as well as for governments tasked with engineering viable strategies for achieving universal electrification.

Research Agenda on Electricity Access and Productive Use

On February 21, 2019, Duke University’s Energy Access Project and Oxfam cohosted a meeting of approximately 60 energy practitioners and researchers to discuss the role of electricity access in spurring productive use. A motivation for this convening was a paper, produced by Oxfam, which had been confounded by the mixed findings on the impact of electrification on productive use.

The True Cost of Solar Tariffs in East Africa

Over a billion people around the world continue to lack access to basic electricity, many of them unlikely to be connected to the grid for years or decades. Pay-as-you-go solar home systems (SHS)—kits that consumers can frequently purchase on credit that include a small solar panel, battery, light bulbs and wires, phone charging equipment, and sometimes televisions and other appliances—have quickly become a viable, private sector-driven solution that empowers consumers to take control of their energy future.

Harnessing the Power of Data: Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative Conference

Energy developers, utilities, planners, and policy makers are often not equipped with the necessary tools to understand the changing landscape of energy delivery options and customer preferences. Researchers and grid operators are often restricted by outdated, unavailable, or biased data in the field. Through innovative methods and analytical tools, such as remote sensing, satellite imagery, and machine learning, data analytics are improving our understanding of energy demand in rural areas, customer needs and expectations, the local availability of energy resources, and the realities of providing electricity to underserved communities. These proceedings from the 2018 annual conference of the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative present takeaways related to the conference's core theme of energy data analytics.