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close this bookEnergy Survey Methodologies for Developing Countries (BOSTID, 1980)
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View the documentAcknowledgements
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOpening Remarks
View the documentConclusions and Recommendations
Open this folder and view contentsWorking group reports
Open this folder and view contentsDirectory of energy surveys for developing countries
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix A
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Opening Remarks

Philip F. Palmedo, Workshop Chairman

This workshop comes at a key time in the evolution of national energy planning in developing countries. While recognizing the great diversity of the nations that we refer to as developing countries, I believe one can detect a trend in attitudes and activities related to energy planning. Following the oil price increases of 1973 and 1974, planners in many countries were forced to think seriously about energy as a national problem. Since that time, several countries have started to piece together available information that would allow them to understand where energy is used currently and what options are available for the future. Unfortunately, soon after such an exercise begins, one finds that the situation is more complex than one imagined and that much of the information needed to analyze energy strategies is simply not available.

This has resulted, over the last few years, in the so-called second stage of national energy analysis. Having found available information inadequate, several national agencies and research groups have begun to gather and analyze the primary information required for energy policy analysis. A small number of surveys of energy use have already been carried out, others are currently under way, and many more will soon be undertaken if national energy decisions are to be based on foundations of fact.

It is for these reasons that this workshop comes at an opportune time. Some substantial experience has been gained in gathering primary energy consumption information, and many data collection efforts will soon be initiated-efforts that could profit considerably from the early experience in this field. As was found when compiling the bibliography for this workshop, this is a new discipline with no secondary sources of information. This meeting has the opportunity of making a significant contribution to the field at a crucial stage in its development.


Three primary objectives of this workshop can be identifed:

· To review and analyze critically surveys that have been carried out on energy consumption and potential demand in developing countries as they pertain to national energy planning. All sectors, uses, and forms of energy will be considered.
· Based on experience in energy and related survey areas, to identify successful methods and approaches that can be used by national energy planning agencies and others to create adequate information bases on energy consumption.
· To suggest ways in which energy survey activities in developing countries can be strengthened and supported, for example, through international exchanges of information or bilateral assistance activities.

This is not a conference or a seminar. The word "workshop" has been chosen with care, for if the workshop is to accomplish these objectives, it will require considerable work on the part of the participants. The participants have been chosen with these objectives in mind, and I believe it is a group that can accomplish these ends. If the workshop is to have the effect that is intended, we must produce a report that is useful to our colleagues who would want to attend such a meeting were it held 1 or 2 years from now. In general, three groups should be kept in mind in preparing contributions to a report from the workshop:

· The practitioners-energy analysts, economists, and social scientists who will be organizing and carrying out energy surveys
· National energy policy makers who will be or should be supporting and using the results of surveys
· National and international assistance agencies who can provide technical or financial assistance in carrying out surveys or in creating national energy analysis capabilities

No doubt a major benefit of the workshop will be the communication that will take place among those attending.


I would like to emphasize the overall perspective that I believe this workshop should take about surveys. We are not talking about the acquisition of energy information for its own sake. We are not talking about surveys as intellectual or academic exercises, but rather as a means of gathering information that is useful in making national energy decisions and to policy making. Even if there were no lack of money, most countries severely lack skilled manpower, and more severely yet, time. Energy problems are urgent, and we can not afford information-gathering exercises that are irrelevant to national needs. There is no benefit in gathering information on urban energy consumption patterns, for example, unless information is included that helps us anticipate what effects price increases will have on different income groups, or the degree to which new energy devices or practices will be accepted by different groups. Energy surveys must examine the present with an eye to the future.

Thus in this workshop we can not avoid the difficult questions raised by energy surveys. These are not questions of sample size or statistical interpretation. These are the complex questions raised by energy choices which inevitably involve trade-offs. As an example, regarding the use of kerosene in rural areas, the policy maker is not only interested in how much kerosene is used for what purposes by whom, but he will eventually want to know the impact of increased kerosene prices on various income groups and on the total demand in rural areas. The degree to which other fuels, wood for example, will substitute for kerosene in such circumstances will also be important. This may in turn affect soil erosion and agricultural productivity, as well as the supply of wood or charcoal to urban areas and to small industrial users. The availability of kerosene in rural areas will itself be affected by urban demand. As this simple example suggests, the categories in which we are discussing surveys are in a sense artificial. Our discussion, therefore, should not only have a view to the future,. but also beyond sectoral boundaries.

Above all, we should keep in mind that ultimately our concern is with providing information that can improve energy policy decisions-decisions that, as we are now aware, can have a strong influence on human well-being.