Cover Image
close this bookBoiling Point No. 45 - Low-cost Electrification for Household Energy (ITDG - ITDG, 2000, 44 p.)
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View the documentWhat’s happening in household energy?
View the documentPublications & Letters
View the documentITDG energy news

ITDG energy news

IT Consultants (ITC) is the consulting arm of the Intermediate Technology Development Group. In this edition of ITDG energy news we look at their role within the ITDG ‘family’.

IT Consultants

IT Consultants (ITC) provides high quality, independent and professional advice to governments, NGOs, aid agencies and the private sector. It has three main Programme areas:

· Energy and Environment, where the specialisation is in decentralised rural electrification, industrial and household energy (cooking, lighting, communication), and renewable energy services.

· Manufacturing and Enterprise Development.

· Natural Resources sector where the concentration is on issues surrounding sustainable livelihoods.

Case study 1: Renewable energy training packages in Vietnam

A project to prepare training and extension materials to support off-grid rural electrification.

There are currently a number of initiatives taking place in Vietnam to electrify rural areas through grid extension. The target is to electrify 70% of all households by 2010. However, it is estimated that there will still be over 3 million households that will not have access to electricity by 2010. There are many communes in Vietnam that are too remote and dispersed for grid extension to be economically viable. Decentralised rural electrification schemes are therefore a feasible option.

One of the identified needs was the requirement to train different levels of government and rural communities so they can evaluate the different energy options for decentralised electrification. They would then choose the most appropriate generation mix and type of supply (whether for a private household or at community level), to provide the energy services required by rural communities.

Case study 2: Mechanisms to improve energy efficiency in small industries

This project aims to improve the efficiency of energy use in small industries in Ghana and India, focussing on timber processing firms in the former, and ceramics firms in the latter.

As well as considering technical mechanisms, the project will also aim to develop market and policy mechanisms necessary for sustainable implementation of technical interventions. The project is also exploring the linkages between energy efficiency interventions and poverty alleviation of the workforce and local populations.

This is a two-year project, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), under the Engineering Knowledge and Research programme. The project is due to finish in March 2001. In India, the team is working with potteries in Khurja, which is the largest ceramics cluster in India, with about 500 firms. The team is now working very closely with existing institutions in the region.

The Energy Programme has a proven track record of managing complex, multi-disciplinary international projects and has worked on Renewable Energy policy and strategy issues in Europe as well as Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The approach that it takes is to identify users’ needs and opportunities for technology change, managing that change and providing support to local institutions to ensure sustainability. Activities include: energy needs assessment; demand surveys and market studies; resource assessment (for example, hydrological studies, wind monitoring, solar energy assessment and biomass surveys). Feasibility studies cover the technical, social and economic aspects of biomass, solar, wind and hydro use; technology development and adaptation to local socio-economic contexts; policy analysis, institutional development, strategic planning and action plans. Training courses are run in all aspects of rural and renewable energy, both general and technology specific. Specialist technical support is available for practical project design, implementation and evaluation to implementation programmes incorporating rural and renewable energy. The case studies give typical examples of the work of ITC.

Figure 1: Renewable energy expert demonstrating the effect of a higher efficiency water turbine, as part of a training session

Stephan Ward, ITC

The project in India has highlighted the export market as being a major driver to quality improvement in this sector. At the same time, ethical and fair trading initiatives provide an opportunity to link exports directly to improvements in working conditions.

Figure 2: Sawdoctor sharpening saw blade in Forest Africana Sawmill, Kumasi, Ghana

Stephan Ward, ITC

In Ghana, the focus has shifted slightly to look at the potential for maximising recovery of logs, as this is the largest source of wasted energy. A sub-sector analysis of the forestry sector has highlighted a number of key opportunities for intervention. The next phase is to explore mechanisms for firms to add value to timber processing.

Contact: Rona Wilkinson, IT Consultants, Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire CV23 9QZ, UK