The social value of mid-scale energy in Africa: Redefining value and redesigning energy to reduce poverty

Clark Miller, Carlo Altamirano-Allende, Nathan Johnson, Malena Agyemang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

This short communication suggests the need to attend carefully to the social value of energy in designing projects to reduce energy poverty. We define the social value of energy in terms of the total value derived by an individual or community from the use of energy, including economic and other forms of value, less any risks or burdens that accompany energy production, transmission, and consumption. This simple definition enables two significant assessments. First, the social value of energy projects can be compared to their costs, to evaluate whether projects are worth investing in, even if they may appear uneconomic in narrower terms. This is especially significant in contexts such as off-grid or renewable energy projects that may have higher energy costs. Second, the socio-technical design of energy projects can be evaluated to determine whether the project will deliver the kinds of energy services, via appropriate strategies, that enhance social value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-69
Number of pages3
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Design
  • Energy poverty
  • Energy services
  • Renewable energy
  • Social value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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