Cover Image
close this bookRural Energy and Development: Improving Energy Supply for Two Billion People (WB, 1996, 132 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentAbbreviations and acronyms
View the documentExecutive summary
View the documentThe new agenda
View the documentThe role of the world bank
close this folderChapter one - Introduction
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe challenges ahead
View the documentPast responses
close this folderChapter two - The rural energy situation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEffects of biofuel use by the poor
View the documentPollution and health
View the documentEcological damage
View the documentEnergy efficiency
View the documentThe transition to modern fuels
close this folderChapter three - Emerging practices and policies
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEnabling people to choose from among alternative forms of energy
View the documentAvoiding unnecessary subsidies
View the documentAddressing market failures
View the documentHigh start-up costs and risks
View the documentExternal costs and benefits
View the documentEmphasizing participation and institutional development
View the documentParticipation?
View the documentLocal institutional development
View the documentDecentralization
View the documentRecognizing the central role of good enabling conditions for development
close this folderChapter four - Options for rural electrification
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProgress to date
View the documentPricing and financial policies
View the documentCost-effectiveness and the choice of alternatives
View the documentCosts of grid supplies
View the documentReducing initial investment costs by using appropriate design standards
View the documentMicro-grids supplied by diesel generators
View the documentElectricity supplies from renewable energy sources
View the documentRegulatory and price reforms, unbundling, and privatization
View the documentImplication for rural electrification
View the documentApproaches
close this folderChapter five - Innovations in renewable energy
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTechnical progress in using the solar resource
View the documentPolicies toward new renewable energy sources in rural areas
View the documentProgram development
View the documentPrices
View the documentCredit
View the documentTaxes and subsidies
close this folderChapter six - Cooking fuels: toward more sustainable supply and use
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentImproving end-use efficiency with biomass stoves
View the documentImproving charcoal efficiency
View the documentDeveloping more sustainable ways to supply biomass
View the documentAgro-forestry and farm forestry
View the documentParticipatory to forest management
View the documentImproving access to kerosene and gas
View the documentSubsidies versus price liberalization
View the documentDistortionary effects of high taxes on cooking fuels
close this folderChapter seven - The role of the world bank group
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPolicies and operations since the 1970s
View the documentRural electrification
View the documentThe sustainable in a production and use of wood-fuels
View the documentRenewable energy
View the documentProject innovations and advisory services
View the documentThe way forward: a renewed commitment by the world bank group
View the documentBroadening the scope of energy sector reform
View the documentInvestments
View the documentOpportunities for partnerships
close this folderAppendix
View the documentWorld bank lending for rural and renewable energy projects, fiscal 1980-95
View the documentMethodology for estimation of world bank lending to rural and renewable energy projects
View the documentNotes
View the documentBibliography


Recent developments in renewable energy technologies have greatly added to the options available for improving rural energy supplies. The main technologies suited to rural areas are micro-hydro. biogas. wind generators. wind pumps. solar heaters for hot water and sustainable ways to provide wood supplies. All these are important sources of energy anti can be developed further. as illustrated by the examples of China (box 5.1) and Pura in India (box 3.2).). A more recent development has been the use of photovoltaic (PV) systems to provide electricity supplies for such small-scale applications as electric lights; and domestic appliances. refrigeration for clinics. village water pumps, street lighting. and health clinics and schools. For small-scale applications in rural areas, PVs are often less expensive and more reliable than grid supplies or diesel motors. The encouraging feature of the Kenya example discussed in box 4.4 was that it was financed on a purely private basis (van der Plas 1994). Solar thermal electric systems using parabolic dishes are also showing much promise for small-scale supplies (Ahmed 1993).

Aside from their environmental appeal, new renewable energy technologies are attracting professional interest for several reasons. namely: the abundance of the solar resource. from which most forms of renewable energy are derived: technical progress and cost reductions: and the modularity of the technologies. The rest of this chapter will focus on technological progress and on the supporting policies needed if renewable energy is to be widely used in rural areas.