The impact of energy infrastructure projects on poverty

The impact of energy infrastructure projects on poverty
Authors (non HEDON members)
Rona Wilkinson
What effect do ‘infrastructure projects’, such as micro-hyrdro installations, have on poverty? More particularly, what impact do they have on the communities, and on the environment in which they are installed? When, for example, a village has access to electrical or mechanical power, how does energy contribute to economic development at village level? Who are the beneficiaries – who is empowered by energy supply? And exactly what benefits does energy bring? Moreover, how can perceived benefits, and indeed potential negative outcomes, be assessed? There is now ample evidence that when traditional sources of energy have been augmented by modern energy systems, economic development does not always follow. The key need is to plan local energy infrastructure so that it has the maximum impact. What are the pre-conditions for it to be able to do so?

This article is based on two case studies of micro-hydro installations in Nepal and Kenya, carried out within an overall project managed by Intermediate Technology Consultants (ITC). Fieldwork for the case studies was carried out by ITDG staff in Kenya and Nepal. The project looked at the relationship between energy and poverty, using the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods Framework’ (see BP46, page 30). This framework is centred on people and their lives, and provides a checklist of important issues – how these are dynamically linked – and the influences and processes at work.

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Title in French
Projets d'infrastructure énergétique et leur mpact sur la pauvreté: étude de cas de micro centrales hydro-électriques.
Abstract in French
A partir d'une méthodologie définissant un cadre d'analyse pour des revenus durables, des projets au Kenya et au Népal ont été analysés afin d'établir leur impact sur la pauvreté. L'absence de marché est considérée comme une contrainte essentielle pour les communautés isolées. L'acquisition du capital physique (par exemple la micro centrale) peut ne pas conduire à une augmentation de revenu. Une évaluation devrait également prendre en considération les coûts-avantages, sociaux et environnementaux.

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071 Hydro
Service type
022 Lighting
BoilingPoint48    Poverty    MicroHydro    Nepal    Kenya    LessonsLearned   

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  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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