Energy is the foundation of modern economies and the central need for modern life. It is a prerequisite for economic growth, improving living conditions and alleviating poverty. Therefore, access to energy is considered an important development goal. Obstacles such as high energy costs, unaffordable energy grid infrastructure and disperse population makes providing access to a majority of the world's population in developing countries a daunting task. Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies offer a unique opportunity to provide affordable and sustainable energy to millions of people. Renewable energy technologies, in particular, offer diverse and economically attractive options for rural electrification. This paper evaluates the economic and social impacts of community based renewable energy (CRE) projects on towns and communities. It investigates whether implementing such programs lead to considerable improvements in economic and social conditions of targeted communities and provide a sustainable energy solution. Relevant literature was reviewed and a comprehensive survey was developed to collect data from two towns in Afghanistan where renewable energy based electrification projects were implemented. Initial research findings provide strong indications that renewable energy projects are linked to improvements in economic conditions of the two pilot towns; both at the town and household levels. This research finds that economic impacts of CRE projects are rather modest as they lead to limited improvement in job creation and flourishing of businesses. Finally, CRE projects are found to be responsible for improving on sustainable supply of energy to the targeted communities. Policy makers and planners can use the findings of this paper as a guide to develop alternative sustainable solutions for energy production while using them as a tool for development of the recipient communities.
- Community- based Renewable Energy
- Renewable Energy
- Socioeconomic Impacts
ASJC Scopus subject areas