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Energy Sector Reform

Assess the impact of reforms on the region's power sector and electrification of the rural and urban poor.

Objectives of the Theme Group

  • Assessing effectiveness of current power sector reform with special emphasis on the performance of the legal and regulatory framework.

  • Examine autonomy (independence) of the newly established regulatory bodies.

  • Identify mechanisms of financial resource in a reformed environment.

  • Assessing the impact of reforms on electricity provision for rural and urban poor.

Key Research Issues

  • Impact of the proposed new legal and regulatory framework on tariff setting principles, flexibility in tariff setting mechanisms in response to changing market environment and cost reflective tariffs.

  • Tariff structures and mechanisms to enable mobilization and channeling of investment towards electrification for the rural and urban poor.

  • Direct and indirect subsidies, and modes of their delivery to the rural and urban poor.

  • Assessing the impact of power sector reform legislation on the performance of independent power distributor’s (efficiency, service delivery, revenue collection, etc.)

  • Impact of power sector reform on the mobilization of domestic and international investment.


Energy Services for the Urban Poor

Examines initiatives for providing least-cost clean energy services to urban poor households and small scale enterprises.

Objectives of the Theme Group

  • To review household energy use patterns including home based micro-enterprises.

  • Analyze critically the problems faced by supply initiatives aimed at providing least cost energy sources to the urban poor.

Key Research Issues

  • Levels and patterns of energy use and the relationships between them and the income situation of the households (e.g. levels of income, frequency of income generation, sources of income and security over time income source).

  • Supply initiatives undertaken, currently and in the recent past, by central government, local government (municipalities, provincial authorities) and Non-Governmental Organizations.

  • Differential impact by income of energy subsidies.

  • Magnitude of energy loss (actual and potential) by the public sector occasioned by energy subsidies in comparison with other income sources.

  • Impact of energy subsidies and/ or other energy related incentives on micro-enterprise activities.

  • Private sector initiatives (ongoing and in the recent past) in the recent past in supplying energy to poor households.

  • Incentives and infrastructure facilities for entrepreneurs to produce energy technologies suitable for micro-enterprise activities.


Renewables and Energy for Rural Development

Examines options for the provision of modern energy services to low income rural areas of Africa with special emphasis on the commercial/services/productive uses of energy.

Objectives of the Theme Group

  • Analyzing the impact of current rural energy policies.

  • Assessing current rural household and community energy practices and technologies.

  • Reviewing rural income generating activities and energy technologies used.

  • Establishing what is hindering the removal of identified barriers in the dissemination of renewable energy technologies (e.g. absence of rural entrepreneurs, funding mechanisms, capacity building and policy).

Key Research Issues

  • Impact of the government and utilities policies, programmes and institutional framework on the provision of modern energy to rural areas.

  • Analysis of existing decentralized private sector energy production and distribution activities in rural areas.

  • Comparative analysis of modern energy use in rural areas.

  • Analysis of components for promoting the production and deployment of RETs by private entrepreneurs in rural areas.


Gender and Energy

Undertakes gender differentiated analysis of energy demand and supply in rural areas.

Objectives of the Theme Group

  • Assessing the gender dimension of rural energy.

  • Reviewing energy demand and supply in rural areas with a gender perspective.

Key Research issues

  • Gender sensitivity of government and utilities’ policies and programmes on the provision of modern energy to rural areas for domestic use and for income generating activities.

  • Gender analysis of energy practices in rural households and energy use in rural income generating activities.

  • Impact of the gender-derived and gender-driven power relations at the household and community levels in the use of modern energy.

  • Gender-sensitive analysis of existing decentralized, private sector energy production and distribution activities in rural areas.

  • Gender-sensitive comparative analyses of demand for modern energy in rural areas (actually existing and future potential) created by income generation activities and domestic use.


Special Studies of Strategic Significance

Studies undertaken on new and emerging issues and trends on energy, energy investments and their implications for the African energy sector.

Objectives of the Theme Group

  • Identify and assess new and emerging issues that are likely to have important implications to the energy sector of selected African countries.

  • To share the important lessons learnt in these short but current studies with energy policy makers and researchers in eastern and southern Africa.

Key Research Issues

  • Current global investment trends and their impact on Africa.

  • New and emerging issues and trends (technological, financial and institutional innovations) that are likely to have important implications for Africa.

  • Adaptation, deployment and use of the modern bio fuel technologies.

  • Substitution of oil and coal by environmentally less damaging natural gas.

  • Environmental and socio-economic impact of large-scale energy developments (for example; large scale dams, coal mines and oil pipelines).

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