Energy is vital to health, well being and economic survival. But the task of providing sustainable energy services to rural communities in developing countries is a complex one. Social priorities, environmental issues, financial constraints, gender differences, demographic characteristics, technical considerations and institutional frameworks all play some role in ensuring that energy investments meet the needs of local people. The energy challenge for the 21st Century is to integrate these diverse constraints into a coherent decision-making framework. This book provides an illustrated and accessible guidance manual for this task.
The primary audience for the manual consists of energy analysts, policy makers, development workers and researchers in developing countries. The secondary beneficiaries will be academics interested in development issues, energy industry experts and decision-makers at the local or government level involved in making decisions about energy and development policies.
The manual presents a range of analytical techniques to assist in evaluating and comparing energy technology options from a variety of important perspectives. The work distills experiences and draws lessons from previous rural energy activities, and presents a variety of relevant analysis tools that will contribute towards upgrading current decision making practices in rural energy development. The manual demonstrates how integrating technical, economic, social, institutional and environmental criteria forms the basis of "good practice" in rural energy planning and policy development. Analytical techniques are described and illustrated with the help of case studies and information acquired from various parts of the developing world to show how the techniques can be applied in real situations.