Impact Pathways of Small-Scale Energy Projects In The Global SouthPublications
• Systematic evaluation of over 30 small-scale sustainable energy projects conducted.
• Theory-based impact evaluation approach in form of contribution analysis applied.
• Theory of change for three impact pathways developed.
• Dissemination of sustainable energy, productive uses and women empowerment analysed.
• Results show energy alone is often not enough to realize full development potential.
Access to clean and affordable modern energy services has been widely recognised as a significant factor for enabling social and economic development. Stand-alone systems and mini-grids are presumed to play an important role in the provision of sustainable energy to those people who currently lack access. Accordingly, an increasing number of small-scale energy projects are being implemented in developing countries and emerging economies. However, despite the large number of energy development projects, only limited evidence exists about the actual contribution they make to sustainable development. This paper addresses this research gap by providing a systematic assessment of three selected impact pathways based on the evaluation of over 30 small-scale sustainable energy projects. Applying a theory-based evaluation approach in the form of a contribution analysis, the aim of this research is to better understand if and how these types of technical interventions can create development outcomes and impacts. The results show that technological issues are often not the most decisive factor in achieving development effects, but that embedding the technology in a set of actions that address social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects is essential.
Julia Terrapon-Pfaff | Marie-Christine Gröne | Carmen Dienst | Willington Ortiz