Making mini-grids work: Productive uses of energy in Tanzania
Mini-grids could help unlock inclusive growth in remote rural areas, but few proactively stimulate productive uses of electricity, as this often requires resource-consuming actions and expertise. This paper characterises the current mini-grids’ industry, taking into account operators’ models and strategies. It then focuses on Tanzania, in particular JUMEME, a new and sophisticated private initiative that aims to build energy use and bring a strong added value to rural areas. It ends with recommendations for helping such private actors develop the areas they serve. Read the paper here.
Remote but productive working paper
While rural energy access investments – like mini-grids – can be expected to transform local economies, this doesn’t happen automatically. Catalysing local enterprises and raising incomes through productive uses of energy often requires extra measures, to overcome barriers such as gaps in local people’s skills or financial resources. In Tanzania there are huge opportunities for ambitious energy access investments to increase rural productivity, including milling, irrigation and small and microenterprises. This paper examines the experiences of two mini-hydro projects in Njombe region run by NGOs, and a solar-diesel mini-grid project in Tanzania’s lake zone run by a joint venture company. All three are exploring ways to combine energy with wider rural development processes. The paper investigates what interventions work, and offers recommendations for new entrants, policymakers and funders. Read the paper to find out more.
Better Power policy paper
In Tanzania, electricity services are expanding, yet they are failing to deliver a high-quality service to end-users. The Energy Change Lab has looked at how information channels and customer feedback mechanisms can be used to ensure that the electricity sector becomes more transparent and accountable to those it serves. A number of prototype solutions are being piloted, drawing on models from other countries and those developed by stakeholders in Tanzania. Read the Better Power policy paper to find out more.
Better Power in Tanzania's energy sector - event rapport
In December 2015, the Energy Change Lab and Twaweza hosted an interactive workshop in Dar es Salaam, discussing information channels and feedback mechanisms for electricity services in Tanzania. The intention of the workshop was to offer a practical space for experts to explore how energy service delivery can be improved. The specific workshop focus was electricity provision, both for grid-connected customers and those using modern products such as portable lights and solar home systems for their lighting needs. The workshop audience included electricity providers (grid, off-grid), sector experts, policy-makers, regulators, development partners and civil society organisations. You can find the event rapport here.
Demanding supply: Putting citizens at the centre of future energy systems
Our energy systems are in transition, but mainstream debates on energy futures tend to have a common blind spot. Discussions focus on energy sources, market regulation, security, demand, price and the environment. The role of ordinary people in these systems is left out. The Lab's first research project was designed to explore how to fill this gap. We asked leading energy thinkers around the world what role ordinary people would play in energy systems of the future. The research has informed the strategy of the Lab.