Sustainable Thermal Energy Service Partnerships (STEPs)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources

Abstract

The research we propose will address the challenge of thermal energy service delivery in rural areas of developing countries, where it is projected that more than 2.6 billion people could remain without service in 2030. The research will study the existing experience in providing thermal energy for cooking, space heating and sanitation using different approaches. The research will study a particular business model called "fee-for-service" (where users pay for the energy service delivered) and different energy delivery options to provide thermal energy in rural places. The fee-for service approach relies on the delivery of a service by a private provider against a small monthly fee. The private provider makes the investment and the end-users can benefit of a service without having to pay large sum up-front. This is of particular importance in rural areas where people cannot afford to pay for a Solar Water Heater.

The fee-for-service approach has been quite successfully used for the dissemination of Solar Home Systems (and also LPG) in a number of African countries. This research will build the conditions to replicate this to the sector of thermal energy services.

This research will study applicable energy conversion and end-use application technologies, analyse institutional arrangements, develop business and enterprise models which needs to be implemented to promote thermal energy services in rural areas developing countries The research will analyse the respective role of government and private partners to form Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) models for energy services like thermal energy in rural areas. It will study innovative financing models that are relevant to the issue. All these components are linked and contribute to the sustainability of the model.

Based on these extensive research the description of a sustainable model for thermal energy services will be developed as a generic Public-Private-Partnership model. Scholarly publications and reports will be written on the research findings to address the research gap in this area. The fee-for service thermal energy service model will be used to influence the implementation of a rural energy pilot project in Lesotho and support will be provided by the team of researchers to the government of Lesotho during implementation. Lessons will be drawn from the implementation and possibility for replication will have been explored in a second developing country -Kenya.

Planned Impact

Impacts in Lesotho in terms of tangible benefits of clean indoor air, clean energy in the pilot village where the 5P thermal energy service delivery model will be implemented. The government of Lesotho will provide inputs and information the situation in Lesotho to help develop the STEPs model that can be piloted in the country. The government of Lesotho will also facilitate the implementation of the STEPs pilot. The Government of Lesotho will be reached through direct communication. The UNDP country office will contribute resources for implementation of the Lesotho Energy Alternatives Programme (LEAP) which will provide the platform for piloting the STEPs model in Lesotho;

Increased awareness among researchers and practitioners on 5P in thermal energy service delivery in developing countries. This awareness can be translated into additional research and replication of the model implementation; the community of researchers and practitioners will be reached by normal tools (peer-reviewed papers, blogs)

Other developing countries and development agencies active in rural energy reflect the 5P thermal energy model in their rural energy efforts with associated clean energy and sustainability benefits. UNDP will contribute by providing its development network on energy access for mainstreaming the STEPs model in its programming and disseminate lessons from the piloting.in other developing countries.

Finally, the 2.6 billion people who will not have access to safe and clean thermal energy in 2030 will indirectly benefit as the results and lessons from the implementation of the pilot projects will be used to replicate the efforts in another developing country and will also be used to influence agencies and groups active in rural energy such as Sustainable energy for all, Global Alliance of Clean Cook stoves, Ren21 and Global Village Energy Partnership.
 
Description Very few energy projects have tried yet to put forward technology neutrality instead of promoting a particular technology for energy access. Limited research has been conducted yet on business models and regulatory frameworks for thermal energy services (the vast majority of the research on business models being conducted on rural electrification, notably with solar home systems).

The STEPs project team is making a number of efforts to increase awareness about the need to look at thermal energy in a neutral way as a service rather than a product. Guidelines based on lessons drawn from a number of cases studies on thermal energy services delivery in the Global South have been written. A number of presentations targeting policy-makers, energy regulators and social entrepreneurs are being given.
Exploitation Route Findings are being taken forward with the integration of the STEPs model elaborated by the research project into clean energy programmes in developing countries.
Sectors Energy

URL http://stepsproject.net/
 
Description Findings of the STEPs project have been integrated in a rural energy project in Afghanistan supported by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) which has started in January 2016. This programme plans to establish sustainable rural energy services in almost 200 rural communities over the next four years, providing both electric and thermal energy. Other developing countries are being targeted notably Zimbabwe and Malawi.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Influence of the STEPs thermal energy services models in SE4ALL in Malawi (LPG/SWH) and in Zimbabwe (SWH)
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL http://econoler.com/en/projects/support-to-se4all-country-actions-processes-in-zimbabwe-and-malawi/
 
Description Integration of the STEPs thermal energy services model into a large UNDP Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development project
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
URL http://www.af.undp.org/content/afghanistan/en/home/operations/projects/poverty_reduction/ASERD.html
 
Description 'Rethinking Finance and Business Approaches for Energy Access' Third International Triennial Workshop on Sustainable Energy For All, Kengeri, Bangalore, 21-24 Feb 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation on 'Rethinking Finance and Business Approaches for Energy Access' was made by Dr Binu Parthan at the Third International Triennial Workshop on Sustainable Energy For All : Transforming Commitments into Action. The workshop was organised by the NAM Science & Technology Centre and Society for Energy Managers (SEEM) at the green Christ University Campus at Kengeri, Bangalore during the period 21-24 February 2014. This was the third energy-related international event organised by NAM S&T Centre and SEEM and brought together a large number of energy sector experts from about 20 countries including 15 developing countries and several of them from Asia and Africa. The five countries participating from Sub-Saharan Africa were from Nigeria, Mauritius, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://stepsproject.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/steps-presentation-at-the-bengaluru-se4all-workshop/
 
Description 2nd STEPs network meeting and workshop, Kwabonambi, South Africa, 28-30 October 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation and Discussant at the Social Research on Off-Grid Solar Conference, 9-10th December 2015, University College London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
URL https://stepsproject.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/second-steps-network-meeting-kwambonambi-south-africa-...
 
Description Blog post on How a global solar alliance can help developing countries for The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Blog post on The Conversation read by more than 5,000 readers and reposted by other blog sites like the World Economic Forum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://theconversation.com/how-a-global-solar-alliance-can-help-developing-countries-51706
 
Description Challenges with Universal Energy Access, Asia Clean Energy Forum: Improved Cooking Solutions, Asian Development Bank, Manila, 18th June 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster on the STEPs project was presented in the Marketplace of Ideas segment in the Asia Clean Energy Forum during June 2013. The Asia Clean Energy Forum over the last 8 years has emerged as one of the key clean energy event in Asia. This year's forum held during 25-28 June 2013 attracted 640 participants from 55 countries and was held at the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila, Philippines.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://stepsproject.net/outputs/
 
Description Poster at the Asian Clean Energy Forum, Asian Development Bank, Manila, 18h June 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster on "Challenges with Universal Thermal Energy Access" at the 9th Asian Clean Energy Forum, Asian Development Bank, Manila, 18h June 2014
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://stepsproject.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/steps-poster-at-the-asia-clean-energy-forum/
 
Description Poster at the workshop SMEs and clean energy for emerging markets: challenges and opportunities, London, LCEDN, 29 September 2014. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster at SMEs and clean energy for emerging markets: challenges and opportunities, Low Carbon Energy Development Network, London, 29 September 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ukcds.org.uk/news-events/events/workshop-and-networking-event-smes-and-clean-energy-for-e...
 
Description Presentation and Discussant at the Social Research on Off-Grid Solar Conference, 9-10th December 2015, University College London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Can policies support off-grid solar? An organisational perspective at the Social Research on Off-Grid Solar Conference, 9-10th December 2015, University College London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://solarandotherstories.wordpress.com/2016/01/
 
Description Presentation at the UK Overseas Territories Student Conference, Our islands, Our future Sustainable Development 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Speaker on "Eco-energy systems in the Islands" at the UK Overseas Territories Student Conference, Our islands, Our future Sustainable Development, University College London, 29th November 2015, .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-7077
 
Description Presentation of STEPs outcomes at the final USES conference, 7th-9th December 2017, Nakuru 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of STEPs outcomes at the final Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions (USES) Network conference in front of other USES projects team and local NGOs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.lcedn.com/blog/understanding-sustainable-energy-solutions-uses-workshop-be-held-nakuru-n...
 
Description Presentation on Regulation for Renewable Energy based Mini-grids at the 15th Annual Conference of the Organization of Caribbean Utility Regulators 9-10 November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation following hurricanes Irma and Maria of the opportunity to rebuild more resilient electricity networks with mini-grids
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://stepsproject.net/outputs/
 
Description STEPs project blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Blog created and coordinated for the STEPs project by Xavier Lemaire, UCL and Daniel Kerr, UCL
This blog has been consulted by more than 2,500 readers since its launch in January 2014 till end 2015.
It had 733 visitors (1,135 views) in 2016; it had 1,460 visitors (1,893 views) in 2017; it had 1,909 visitors (2,464 views) in 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
URL https://stepsproject.wordpress.com/
 
Description STEPs project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The website has been created and coordinated by Xavier Lemaire, UCL and Daniel Kerr, UCL in December 2013
It has been visited by more than 1,500 visitors since its creation till end 2015. It had 12,929 visitors (24,686 views) with 552 documents downloaded in 2016; it had 13,682 visitors (41168 views) with 1,257 documents downloaded in 2017; it had 9,252 visitors (52,974 views) with 1,709 documents downloaded in 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
URL http://stepsproject.net/
 
Description The Regulatory Framework for the Development of the Solar Water Heater Industry in the Caribbean, Montego Bay Jamaica, 25-28 Oct 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation on "The Regulatory Framework for the Development of the Solar Water Heater Industry in the Caribbean" at the Organisation of Caribbean Utility Regulators OOCUR 14th Annual conference, 25-28 Oct 2016, Montego Bay Jamaica
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20161029/solar-water-heater-market-hot-exploitation