Technical Report. Renewable energy for sustainable rural livelihoods 2004-2006


This Technical Report provides a summary of the results of the RESURL II research project. The main thrusts of the study, undertaken between August 2004 and March 2006, examine, improve and consolidate the assessment methods designed by RESURL I with the purpose of evaluating barriers and opportunities to identify the status of installed energy machinery and undertaking construction of an analytical system that could model future rural energy decision-making for poverty reduction and sustainability. A large proportion of the team's research efforts in RESURL II was geared to making a more accurate and reliable analytical tool of the original decision-making system MUCSY-RE the so called SURE, Sustainable Rural Energy, Decision-Support System. The latter became a fully developed multi-criteria computer program capable of modelling both technical and non-technical aspects of energy development. Another important target during the second phase has been to advance capacity-building in two directions: first, by offering more practical information to modern energy technology users in rural areas; and second, by expanding the RESURL presence among academics in the field. Finally, dissemination of the ideas behind RESURL, as well as exploration of the wider political and economic processes of electricity reforms in developing countries are two new aspects addressed by RESURL.

The report is structured as follows. Chapter 1 starts by giving an overview of the findings of RESURL I; these represent the antecedents to the RESURL II project. The main activities undertaken during this period are then described and venues highlighted that were used for disseminating the main outputs and transferring conceptual frameworks.

Chapter 2 focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of the rural energy decision-support model SURE and explains how the model evolved into its current form.

Chapter 3 looks into information delivery to technology users to encourage the long-term sustainability of clean and modular energy systems. The as yet unfulfilled potential of modern energy technology to deliver useful services is also covered.

Chapter 4 moves away from the practical dimensions of community and regional aspects of the problem of energy supply for sustainable rural livelihoods and steps into the theoretical field of the electricity liberalisation process and its effects on the poor. The chapter aim is to present information that contributes to an understanding of the current state of the extension of the electricity supply to rural areas and the promotion of renewable energy technologies.

Finally, Chapter 5 reflects on issues raised by the research. In particular it highlights the importance of moving the project forward in the light both of the decision by Cuban policy-makers and scientific advisors to include one of our main outputs, the SURE decision-support model, within their national priority research programmes and to pilot it in a number of provinces; and of the support given by the Colombian National Counsel of Science to upgrading the system program.


Imperial College, London, UK, 40 pp.

Technical Report. Renewable energy for sustainable rural livelihoods 2004-2006

Published 1 January 2005