Report on productive uses of renewable energy, 20 January 2009.

This brief examines renewable energy projects from around the world, including India, China, Nepal, Argentina, Chile and Honduras


Experience from around the world suggests that the promotion of productive uses of energy has a positive impact on the benefits of renewable energy projects. Productive use is defined as a range of income generating and productive activities such as small industries, agricultural and food processing, telecommunications, health services, educational facilities and heating and cooling applications. This brief study examines seven renewable energy projects and programmes from around the world (India, China, Nepal, Argentina, Chile and Honduras) and assesses them on their implementation approach, budget and outcomes, with the aim of developing recommended approaches to implementing such programmes under the future Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP), within the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF - part of the Climate Investment Funds).

A programmatic approach to implementing the renewable energy programme, with productive uses at the centre, is examined with a view to assessing the key components of such an approach. The programmatic approach has been found to be beneficial in maximising the impact and change brought about by a support programme, as evidenced by case examples. Various delivery models that are being used are also examined in the context of the SREP and their usefulness commented upon. Advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a programmatic approach for promoting productive uses of energy are also analysed, including an assessment of linkages that a future SREP programme may have with existing programmes and agencies. It has been recognised that the involvement of the private sector, though difficult initially, should be encouraged based on successful experience in several renewable energy support programmes.

It is concluded that a future SREP should have a focus on the productive use of energy as well as follow a programmatic approach, which is being implemented by agencies such as GEF. It is also recommended that SREP works with existing renewable energy programmes and agencies to maximise the effectiveness of future SREP initiatives.

This resource was produced by TI-UP – a DFID-funded resource centre for technology, infrastructure and urban planning, managed by IMC Worldwide Ltd.


IT Power. Report on productive uses of renewable energy, 20 January 2009. TI-UP Resource Centre, London, UK (2009) 33 pp.

Published 1 January 2009