Practical Action Consulting
The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire CV23 9QZ, UK
Email: consulting@practicalaction.org.uk

The interactive Renewable Energy Toolkit

The climate is changing rapidly, and we no longer have the luxury of saying ‘if it happens’ but rather we need to look at how we can slow down the rate of climate change, adapt to the changes which are happening, and still improve access to energy for people living in poverty. The Interactive Renewable Energy Toolkit (iRET) has been produced by Practical Action Consulting for Oxfam and Christian Aid to assist them in building the skills of their staff and partners to deliver energy access projects for poverty reduction worldwide. By providing the skills and information to organisations seeking to improve energy provision for poor people, this toolkit supports the developmental aim of improved energy access, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and it provides the information need to use fuels efficiently, and to harness renewables effectively.

The iRET is comprised of four sections which contain information and advice for organisations running projects relating to energy. The sections include:

Energising Development

This section focuses on energy services and tackles the different ways in which people actually use energy. It looks at the importance of energy for poor people’s lives and livelihoods and aims to describe what life is like without access to modern energy. It focuses on examining the impact of energy deprivation on six key services and highlights the transformational effects made possible when energy becomes available.

Energy in Action

The information in this section gives examples of a various renewable energy sources and highlights some of the technologies that can convert these energy sources into a form that can be used. Each chapter introduces a new resource and some of the common technologies associated with it. It also gives an insight into the potential development impacts of their use in addition to providing links to valuable external resources.

Design to Deliver

The way in which all project should be carried out follows a sequence that is often referred to as a project cycle. Design to Deliver provides details on a project cycle, from identification through to evaluation, and provides practical guidelines and tools for delivering energy access projects. This section also includes information outlining some of the critical factors and considerations that need to be made to ensure the success of energy projects.

Money Matters

Money Matters tackles the ways that NGOs and energy enterprises can get finance to fund their projects and programmes. It discusses some of the types and sources of project funding available and their advantages and disadvantages. This section also provides examples of how some NGOs have developed innovative operational modules to deliver their projects and services, it also provides and insight into end user finance which discusses the way that NGOs can make their outputs accessible to consumers of energy projects and services.

The toolkit focuses on alternative sources of energy and discusses the benefits of relying on cleaner technologies such as solar, wind and water to provide the most sustainable and resilient technologies for communities. It gives an insight into the most important energy services and the different ways in which people use energy such as for lighting, cooking, space heating and for generating an income and how these services can each contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

The toolkit is produced using CD ROM software so it can easily be accessed for people in some developing countries with little or no access to the internet. It features:
  • Films from Practical Action and the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy showing successful renewable energy enterprises and programmes from around the world;
  • audio clips that introduce and discuss;
  • key resources from Practical Action and other organisations embedded as pdfs that are available at the click of your mouse;
  • web links to essential sites on the internet.

Renewable energy pathway - from resource to development

Fig 1 - Copy.jpg

People need access to a range of energy sources, and energy technologies, to satisfy their energy service needs. This table shows the suitability of different RETs to meeting the various energy service needs. The RETs are grouped by source; biomass, solar, water, wind, human and liquid fuel. The energy services are grouped by their most common energy supply form, be it modern fuels, electricity or mechanical power.

Fig 2.jpg

Access the Toolkit


Last edited by Mohamed Allapitchai .
Page last modified on Monday March 11, 2013 10:42:57 GMT.
  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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