Needs-based impact assessment of non-grid rural electrification : a case of Eastern Cape

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis explores issues of electrification in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. First the set of issues explored are the rural areas electrification and general development background issues, taking the electrification from the early 1990s as the point of departure. Non-grid electrified, grid-electrified and non-electrified households in six Eastern Cape province areas were interviewed to gather information on their energy consumption. The research was undertaken to explore households' energy uses and to measure the impacts of having both grid and non-grid electricity. Socio-economic backgrounds of researched households are analysed to explore their contribution and influence to the types of energy sources used by households. By exploring socioeconomic backgrounds, a picture is given of conditions that drive rural households to use different types of energy. By comparing the electrified and non-electrified households. the thesis explores and explains how the transition and switching from one fuel to the other is made within these households. Lastly, there is also an analysis of the way different electricity supply options used in the rural areas affect the way people use energy. This includes discussion as to whether different electricity supply options are accepted better than others and the reasons for this. The conclusions drawn from the research done for this thesis shows that energy is a key component of rural development, yet energy demand (in terms of electricity use) in rural areas is low due to their underdeveloped nature. Even if modem energy is delivered to rural poor, households are often faced with very restricted income which severely limits energy use especially for thermal applications. These problems have to be addressed as a whole. In order to satisfy needs of people in rural areas. the provision of electricity, either grid or off-grid must hand in hand with integrated local development through which poverty as a whole may be addressed.

Bibliography: leaves 71-74.