Community energy and sustainable energy transitions in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique (CESET)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Urban Institute

Abstract

The 2019 Energy Progress Report shows the need to step up efforts to link on-grid and off-grid strategies to facilitate access to electricity (EIA et al, 2019). According to the report, eight of the twenty countries with the largest deficits in access to electricity are in East Africa, including Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique. In countries facing such significant gaps in energy access, the rapid adoption of renewable energy may help to deliver access to energy sustainably. The growing availability of renewable technologies in East Africa's countries suggests that such a transition is possible. However, technology alone will not solve the challenge of energy access.

A transition to sustainable energy needs to prioritise the social needs of excluded and disadvantaged groups. Responding to people's energy needs requires institutional, organisational, and financial models of energy delivery that prioritise social benefits over profits.

New models of energy delivery have been developed to involve communities in the design and management of off-grid systems. While the size and technologies used vary, all Community Energy Systems (henceforth CESs) incorporate the perspectives of beneficiaries on electricity generation and distribution through collaborative mechanisms for decision-making. CESs can provide additional capacity to existing grids, provide off-grid services where the grid is absent, and bridge on-grid and off-grid systems.

The project CESET brings together researchers from political science, human geography, engineering and technology providers to understand the role of CESs in advancing a just sustainable energy transition that will bridge the energy access gap in East Africa.

Our focus is in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique, three countries where there is considerable local enthusiasm about CESs. Proponents of CESs argue that they can foster deep structural transformations in countries facing large electricity deficits. First, by giving ownership to communities, CESs challenge the political economy of energy and reveal energy-related inequalities. Second, by demonstrating new modes of service provision, CESs can diversify the institutional landscape of energy delivery. Third, by incorporating the concerns of the more disadvantaged populations in the design and management of energy services, CESs can respond to their needs directly and generate innovations tailored to those needs.

There is little evidence of how CESs work in practice and their impacts in East Africa because of the shortage of data on CESs, and energy systems more generally. There is a need to renew policy and practice. Research and interventions often rely on technological blueprints that do not fit the institutional and material conditions in which CESs operate. Moreover, conceptualisations of communities as harmonious, homogenous units obscure the multiple forms of exclusion that influence energy access and infrastructure management. There is already an international consensus about the need for disaggregated data to understand the gender gap in energy access. CESET advocates going beyond by considering the intersection of gender with multiple social characteristics that may also lead to exclusion from energy services (such as age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, place of origin).

CESET will produce three outcomes to address this challenge. CESET's theoretical framework will recognise the variety of CESs models and how they interact with multiple variables of community diversity. CESET will also characterise the landscape of operation of CESs in East Africa at three scales: local, national, and regional. Further learning will happen with the activation of a Community Energy Lab in Mozambique to compile evidence of what works in practice. CESET's efforts will lead to the creation of a Regional Energy Learning Alliance to deliver a long-term research programme and support trans-sectorial learning on CESs in East Africa.

Planned Impact

CESET will deliver recommendations to improve the delivery of CESs in situ, which will benefit directly low-income communities. It will provide country-specific evidence on what works for energy access, which will benefit governmental and non-governmental actors working to advance energy access in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Mozambique. It will develop new ways of thinking about community energy, which will benefit ODA-related organisations that question dominant paradigms on energy and development.

1. Low-income communities in the target countries living in under-serviced areas will benefit from the recognition of their role in strategic energy planning. The Community Energy Lab will enable the coproduction of energy services with communities. Participatory workshops will allow communities to define their needs and potential solutions with support from the network of researchers and practitioners involved in CESET. Participants will gain skills and will be empowered by a model of community ownership. CESET's insights on the models that underpin CESs and the intersectional perspective on community energy will support a nuanced consideration of the diversity of energy needs into local, national and international policy.

2. Governmental and non-governmental actors working to advance energy access in the target countries will benefit from policy advice on the diversification existing models of energy delivery. In Mozambique, CESET will benefit Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), the national public electricity utility. Following a five-year partnership, CESET will work to understand how decentralized energy can support EDM's electrification strategy. In Ethiopia, CESET has an established partnership with the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. CESET will also target the Ethiopian Electric Agency (regulator), the Ethiopian Electric Power (generator), and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity. These agencies focus on household-based solar systems, without tapping into the variety of systems that could transform energy access. In Malawi, impact activities will target the Department of Energy Affairs, responsible for energy policy and for the coordination of energy delivery, and the National Commission for Science and Technology, responsible for the mainstreaming of technological innovation into sustainable development strategies. These bodies require additional information on how CESs can be included in strategic energy planning and sustainable development strategies. CESET's insights on innovation and energy planning will also contribute to planning departments in local governments, NGOs and social enterprises that operate locally with an energy focus (such as our partner Loja de Energias), and technology providers (such as our partners SCENE and the Modern Energy Cooking Services program).

3. ODA-related organisations focusing on energy access engage in activities that challenge mainstream paradigms of international development. CESET will challenge received wisdom on the role of CESs in enhancing energy access. Recommendations about community energy, the gender gap, and the development of an intersectional perspective will inform international energy policy. Working in partnership with the World Resources Institute and the C40 network, we will seek to influence key international organisations including the International Energy Agency, the World Bank Group, and the International Renewable Energy Agency. In the UK, the Department for International Development has promoted initiatives to achieve universal energy access in Africa (e.g. 'Energy Africa Campaign'), and the UK Parliament shows growing interest in the relationship between the Aid budget, energy, and climate change. CESET will provide recommendations for the Aid budget and guidelines for an assessment of community diversity in energy initiatives working in partnership with key policy actors such as the Overseas Development Institute.
 
Title Mapping energy learning programmes in Ethiopia 
Description Our CESET Ethiopian partners undertook a survey in 2021 to identify higher education programmes that teach energy-related skills in Ethiopia at the different levels of study in 35 Universities. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact Need stats from Creative Concern 
URL https://cesetproject.com/higher-education-programmes-teach-energy-related-skills-ethiopia
 
Description Work Package 1 (WP1) has systematically mapped existing higher education programmes in energy studies across every University in Ethiopia. The analysis found that while several programmes consider energy access in Ethiopia, few provide specific skills for community energy. For example, few programmes adopt a whole-systems analysis perspective. Social and political aspects of energy development are also not considered, for example, gender aspects. Further work will extend the analysis to Malawi and Mozambique. WP1 has also started to map the network of policymakers that can fundamentally shape the energy landscape in the three countries of study. A briefing on the project ethics has set up the context for developing the Regional Learning Alliance (RELA).
Work package 2 (WP2) has examined different frameworks to explore the political economy of energy in each country of study. The WP2 team has developed two different approaches. On the one hand, a sub-group of WP2 has focused on macro-level analyses of energy access in each country, with the compilation of a large amount of statistical data to develop a comparative analysis across countries. On the other hand, the team has started experimenting with qualitative methodologies to explore the operation of supply chains and the public views. WP 2 has generated a detailed analysis of the existing policy developments in Mozambique and will further develop the current programme of work into research with local policymakers. WP2 has also produced studies of the interaction of energy access with other challenges, such as health during the pandemic, with an article in Nature Energy. A briefing on the policy developments of Mozambique was published on the website of the project.
Work Package 3 (WP3) has developed a multi-dimensional analysis of the energy landscapes of each country, seeking to contextualise the possibility of community energy in each country. Country reports were used for a comparative study that focused on the cases of Ethiopia and Mozambique where current legislation constraints the development of community energy. The analysis was presented in a paper in the journal Energy, Sustainability and Society. Further work has focused on mapping existing community energy projects in the three countries, and additional analytical work will be developed in the coming year. Two other publications have further analysed the context of energy infrastructure development, one in a forthcoming book and another one in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
Work Package 4 (WP4) has developed a plan for developing the community energy laboratory, established local contacts with critical institutions, and developed a series of briefings (on finance and intersectionality). A survey of sites has revealed multiple difficulties in selecting the ideal place. We are now working to establish local alliances and collect regional data. Theoretical reflections on the urban energy landscape and the problem of change are being published in a special issue, edited by the CESET team, in the journal Landscape Research on change in infrastructure landscapes.
Exploitation Route For professionals and scholars in the energy sector our research will help rethinking the centralized infrastructure model that dominates electrification policy and support the idea that bringing people into policy debates will improve policy at the local and national levels.
Sectors Energy,Environment

URL https://cesetproject.com/
 
Description CESET has started to deliver impact in the three countries where it works and internationally. At the national level, CESET made a high-level presentation at the Mozambique Mining, Oil & Gas and Energy Conference (AMETRADE), enabling dialogue with a range of public and private stakeholders. In addition, CESET has held three informal discussion meetings with Electricidade de Mocambique (the public utility EDM) and the Energy Fund (FUNAE). CESET is now formalising collaboration relationships with BRILHO, a 5-year programme (2019 - 2024) between the British and Mozambique Government to catalyse Mozambique's off-grid energy market to provide clean and affordable energy solutions to the country's off-grid population and with AMER (Mozambican Association of Renewable Energy) with whom we are partnering for a new project. CESET also submitted recommendations for the new regulatory framework on off-grid energy, and we are now tracking the impact. A recent grant from the ESRC-IAA impact acceleration account in Sheffield will further track that impact. In Ethiopia, the CESET team has established regular contact with many stakeholders, especially in the government. However, the civil war has hindered our efforts, which we hope to resume soon. The team has mapped current teaching programmes to maximise CESET's impact on education. In Malawi, the CESET team has established a network of contacts in the public sector and small-scale producers. In the following year, all teams will develop impact plans. In terms of global impact, the project has had an active engagement with an international academic community, despite the pandemic, via online webinars (including 3 x RELA webinars and 2 x UI webinars on climate urbanism). CESET has been present at high-level international events, especially the UN-Habitat World Cities Day conference and the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The work in CESET was recognised as part of the wider career recognition of the AXA Climate Science Award, awarded to CESET's PI. Insights from CESET have informed 1) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR6 report; 2) the UN-Habitat World Cities Report (on the Future of Sustainable Urbanization) and UCLG's GOLD report on Urban Equality (to which the CESET team submitted a background paper on urban energy access; see publications). CESET's briefings papers (4) aim to present the project's theoretical developments in an accessible manner for wider audiences.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description CESET feedback on Mozambique's new draft off-grid regulation
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact On 14th September the Council of Ministers approved the country's first Regulation for Off-Grid Energy taking a key step towards universal access. (Vanesa to add the recommendations included from CESET feedback).
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/ceset-feedback-mozambique%E2%80%99s-new-draft-grid-regulation
 
Description Maximising the uptake of community energy in the regulatory landscape of Mozambique
Amount £7,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IAA-ESRC Impact Acceleration Account 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2022 
End 12/2022
 
Description 10 November 2020: Vanesa Castán Broto and Enora Robin convened at academic workshop on 'Understanding change in urban infrastructure landscapes'. Online 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The online workshop brought together targeted scholars to discuss new perspectives on the notion of change in infrastructure landscapes. The data from the workshop is being used to create a special issue to be published in the Journal of Landscape Research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description 10 November 2021: Blog on the University of Sheffield website on Urban Institute participation at COP26 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog on Urban Institute at COP26 on the University of Sheffield sustainability webpage
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://sustainabilityblog.group.shef.ac.uk/2021/11/09/urban-institute-participate-in-cop26/
 
Description 11 February 2021: Professor Benjamin Sovacool gave a presentation on 'Rethinking energy poverty and best practices for the governance of distributed renewable energy access' at the second Regional Energy Learning Alliance Webinar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Chair, Lorraine Howe, introduced Ben who gave a very stimulating presentation on energy poverty. Over one billion people-one in five globally-lack electricity to light their homes or conduct business. Many more only have access to poor quality service. Widespread access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy is critical for achieving inclusive, low-emissions growth and development. But which technologies, and business models work? Which don't? The presentation will demonstrate how small-scale renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, cookstoves, biogas digesters, microhydro units, and wind turbines are helping planners eradicate energy poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through an in-depth exploration of case studies in Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka, the presentation will highlight the applicability of different approaches to the promotion of renewable energy in developing countries. It will also illuminate how household and commercial innovations occur (or fail to occur) within particular energy governance regimes. Lastly, and uniquely, it will explore successful case studies alongside failures or "worst practice" examples that are often just as revealing as those that met their targets. Based on these successes and failures, the presentation will present salient lessons for policymakers and practitioners wishing to expand energy access and raise standards of living in some of the world's poorest communities.

This was followed by feedback from Dr Joshua Kirshner on how the presentation connected to the CESET project and a question and answer session with participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://youtu.be/astpqPbFxfQ
 
Description 11 March 2021: Getachew Bekele of Addis Ababa University presented on "access to electricity in Ethiopia" at the 3rd Regional Energy Learning Alliance Webinar 
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 On Thursday 11th March 2021 our CESET partner Professor Getachew Bekele of Addis Ababa University delivered the 3rd webinar in our Regional Energy Learning Alliance series. The webinar was chaired by our colleague Dr Long Seng To of Loughborough University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwh17UBZodc
 
Description 11 September 2020: Professor Vanesa Castán Broto gave a CESET presentation on Energy and Intersectionality at the Centre of Climate and Energy Transformation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Vanesa Castán Broto of the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, gave a virtual presentation at the Centre of Climate and Energy Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway on Gender Equality, Climate and Research. The workshop had two focus points: one was to think about how to broaden our research and incorporate new [gender-inspired] theoretical lenses. The other was more practical, towards creating an inclusive research environment. Vanesa had the honor to intervene alongside two prominent thinkers on gender and climate change: Annica Kronsell and Seema Arora-Jonsson. In her intervention, Vanesa spoke of the points of departure to think about intersectionality within the project CESET but also of her own experiences of research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/ceset-presentation-energy-and-intersectionality-centre-climate-and-ene...
 
Description 12 July 2021: British Academy net zero roundtable with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Roundtable with The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Following an introduction from Professor Sir David Cannadine, the event was opened with three short reflections from British Academy Fellows. Chaired discussion involving leading practitioners from civil society, business and the academic community will follow, before closing remarks from our President-elect Professor Julia Black. During the discussion, Vanesa was asked to share her views on how the UK can achieve a fair and successful transition to net zero. Vanesa had an intervention in which she claimed that just transitions required diversity (of infrastructures, of governance, of people).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description 12 November 2021: Exploring the contours of off-grid and sustainable energy transitions in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Brazil 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact CESET Co-Investigator Professor Joshua Kirshner was invited to give a presentation to staff and students in the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/exploring-contours-grid-and-sustainable%C2%A0energy-transitions-mozamb...
 
Description 13 May 2021: Dr Jiska De Groot, Dr Norman Mathebula and Professor Federico Caprotti presented at the 4th Regional Energy Learning Alliance Webinar 
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 Our international panel of guest speakers - Drs Jiska De Groot and Norman Mathebula, University of Cape Town and Professor Federico Caprotti, University of Exeter - presented on "Off-grid urban service provision: wellbeing and sustainability". Off-grid informal urban spaces are often conceptualised, and treated in practice contexts, as disconnected from the formal grid, and from more formal areas of the city. At the same time, these spaces are subject to constraints (usually regulatory and legal) that mean that formal connections are desired in policy and on the ground, but not deliverable in practice. In this presentation, we present our Energy4Wellbeing project, that has focused on an experimental approach to providing off-grid solar infrastructures to part of an informal settlement community in Cape Town. We will also be offering some commentary on thinking about off-grid spaces, and the formal grid, in ways that move beyond a single service focus, and beyond a focus on the purely technical, by highlighting how experimental approaches can be linked to themes such as wellbeing, and sustainable business models.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://youtu.be/C6FxExbZOQY
 
Description 17 July 2020: Dr Josh Kirshner discussed his recently published paper 'Energy access is needed to maintain health during pandemics', that he co-authored with Professor Vanesa Castán Broto. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Josh participated in the Ask the Author series organised by York Environmental Sustainability Institute, University of York. Josh explained how energy plays a central role in responding to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, from ensuring adequate healthcare services to supporting households during lockdowns. Protecting the renewable energy industry and its contribution to providing sustainable energy access for all must be an urgent priority in the current crisis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://youtu.be/2f-JtGpYjMs
 
Description 19 July 2021: Participation in British Academy workshop on Cities, Adaptation and Resilience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Professor Vanesa Castán Broto chaired a British Academy workshop, introduced the debate, stirred it and summarised it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description 19 September 2021: "Comunidades eléctricas para abaratar la luz" in Economía 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact CESET Principle Investigator Vanesa Castán Broto, Professor of Climate Urbanism and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently participated in an interview for Economía on development of community energy systems to deliver renewable energy in Spain.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.elcorreo.com/economia/comunidades-electricas-alza-20210919172651-ntrc.html
 
Description 20 July 2021: Mapping the everyday spaces of low carbon transitions 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Enora Robin presented at the Evidence for Action Conference which brought together academics and practitioners to discuss progress towards the localisation of the SDGs. The session included a panel discussion with sector experts, academic institutions, government and local organizations representatives who highlighted the realities of informality and inequality in cities and the opportunities of working with marginalised communities vulnerable to climate change to achieve climate justice. It engaged a multiplicity of members and partners focusing on the global south, and targeted a global audience. There was also a Q&A session.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description 20 November 2020: The University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Science Press Release on the new CESET project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release to announce Sheffield academics awarded £1.3 million in UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund to accelerate clean energy transitions in low and middle income countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/social-sciences/news/sheffield-academics-awarded-large-grant-help-develo...
 
Description 21 May 2021: Roundtable Workshop on emerging narratives for sustainable energy in displacement settings 
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 CESET Principle Investigator Professor Vanesa Castán Broto participated in a roundtable with other researchers and practitioners involved in energy projects in situations of displacement as part of the Community Energy Resilience Roundtable Series. The series was hosted by our CESET partner - Dr Long Seng To's - research fellowship on 'Enhancing community energy resilience using renewable energy in developing countries' (a collaboration between Loughborough University, Mzuzu University, Tribhuvan University, BRE and AKTEK, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering). Displacement occurs when people flee their homes due to armed conflict including civil war, generalized violence, and persecution on the grounds of nationality, race, religion, political opinion or social group, or due to disasters. It can occur across borders or within a country (internal displacement). There were 79.5 million displaced people in the world at the end of 2019 with approximately 26 million refugees, 46 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 4.2 million stateless people, and 4 million asylum seekers living in urban, peri-urban, rural and camp areas (UNHCR, 2020). This roundtable discussed the energy needs in displacement settings or situations as a whole - inclusive of displaced and host populations, with both household and community-level energy needs. Sustainable energy and energy access projects in displacement settings are grounded in the current humanitarian aid system. These have focused on providing basic energy services in refugee camps and have predominantly relied on grant and free distribution models. This has limited impact and reach, due to lack of viable long-term energy delivery models and integration with broader energy programmes in the country. Such approaches are also unsuitable for displaced people living in urban areas. New narratives are emerging that address these important issues and also better recognise the role for communities and energy resilience. As the Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Energy Solutions in Situations of Displacement celebrates its 3rd year anniversary and moves towards the next stage, it is useful to review the progress made in the field of humanitarian energy so far. The roundtable also identified learned lessons from the challenges and successes of past research projects in this area in order to map out emerging narratives that could inspire new approaches.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/roundtable-workshop-emerging-narratives-sustainable-energy-displacemen...
 
Description 22 November 2021: Citizen participation in planning - from the neighbourhood to the city 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Vanesa Castán Broto participated in an expert panel at on online event organised by the International Institute for Environment and Development. Citizen participation in planning: from the neighbourhood to the city reflected on the needs and challenges of citizen participation in the planning and development of informal settlements. Globally, over one billion people live in informal settlements, often with limited infrastructure and access to essential services. When efforts to shape these areas arise, residents are often left out of the planning processes. This online event explored the need for participation of residents in planning and why the capacity to go to scale is essential to successful development initiatives. The need for citizen participation in local planning processes has long been recognised. Such involvement is essential for both equitable democratic citizenship and for effective interventions that respond to everyday lived realities. Participatory planning and development is particularly significant for the residents of informal settlements, who are generally among the lowest-income and most disadvantaged urban citizens. Faced with considerable state neglect, neighbourhood organisations, social movements and NGOs are consolidating alliances and federations to reclaim the capacity to modify their living environments as a collective right. However, considerable challenges remain. The expert panel explored what recent experiences add to our understanding about how and in what form participation can scale upwards and outwards: 1) What is the relationship of participation to democracy and political inclusion? 2) What are the key challenges that remain in terms of participatory practices? 3) How can we address past deficiencies and secure more accountable processes and knowledge democracy?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/citizen-participation-in-planning-from-the-neighbourhood-to-the-city-...
 
Description 23 April 2021: CESET invited speaker at the 7th Mozambique Mining, Oil & Gas and Energy Conference 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Our CESET principle investigator - Professor Vanesa Castán Broto - was invited to speak at the virtual MME Conference on "Utilizing Natural Resources as the Catalyst for Economic Development and Diversification". The 3-day virtual conference took place between 21-23 April. On 22nd April, Vanesa participated in session 7 of the main conference entitled 'infrastructure and technologies - key drivers for sustainable mineral resources development'. Vanesa joined a panel of 3 industry experts to consider infrastructure and technology projects that could optimize mineral resource development, improve supply chains and create a stronger, more integrated industry in Mozambique.
Vanesa's presentation focused on the role of community energy and the future of sustainable energy. Vanesa outlined the questions that need to be asked to understand the potential of community energy, for example, what is community energy, what are the benefits of community energy and what barriers prevent the development of community energy? People are at the heart of community energy projects as they need to maintain and manage the project and help the distribution of benefits. The benefits of such projects include supporting local economics, addressing the climate change emergency, developing local resilience and delivering social outcomes. Despite the many benefits there are also barriers such as access to finance, institutional barriers and lack of time, energy and experience. Mini-grids - both large and small capacity - have a contribution to the renewable energy sector. However, the landscape for financing is changing, especially in the context of COVID19 and the climate change challenge. International funding and government subsidies are essential to support mini-grid development and growth of the sector. Finally, Vanesa informed the conference of CESET's recent feedback on The Government of Mozambique's new draft off-grid regulation, noting that it needs to avoid artificial geographical barriers, tailor bureaucratic hurdles to different types of projects and tax profits, not the development of off-grid systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/ceset-invited-speaker-%C2%A07th-mozambique-mining-oil-gas-and-energy-c...
 
Description 24 January 2022: Engaging with the Feminist City 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CESET PI Professor Vanesa Castán Broto participated in an event hosted by the Gender Responsive Resilience & Intersectionality in Policy and Practice at UCL entitled "Engaging with the Feminist City: How does a feminist city present itself in different spaces and places?". The series of exploratory virtual events explore how a range of scholars, practitioners, policy makers and activists are thinking about feminism and the city. The final session was convened by Professor Camillo Boano and Belen Desmaison. Vanesa joined two international panellists, who were asked to address the following questions:
How did they think about feminism and the city?
What were the range of concepts that they used when thinking through the feminist city?
What values did different concepts bring?
What did feminism and the city mean in practice?
How were they engaging with / responding to / implementing elements of the feminist city?
What were the emerging sources of inspiration and tensions for our collective future?
Vanesa talked about "The feminist city in the Anthropocene". As Vanesa's focus is on environmental and climate science she is particularly interested in the critique of the sexist city and how it interacts with urban environments. Vanesa talked about how her own thoughts are being transformed and what it means to her to be an urban feminist in the 21st Century.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/engaging-feminist-city
 
Description 25 January 2021: Professor Yacob Mulugetta gave a presentation on 'community energy in East Africa' at the first Regional Energy Leaning Alliance Webinar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Vanesa Castán Broto gave a brief introduction to the CESET project, followed by a key note by Yacob which stimulated a fascinating Q&A session. Questions included:
- What kind of components of renewable energy systems are already produced in the region/all of Africa or are they imported?
- Could you please provide any policy examples or papers which discuss how equity and justice are being explored in energy policy discussions in East Africa?
- For rural and remote communities where community-level energy projects such as mini grids are unfeasible, household solar-home-systems (SHSs) are a common approach. However, they require maintenance and battery replacement which can be unsustainable for households without the funds or access to local technicians. Do you have any experience with communities that have received SHSs and to what extent do you think community cooperation can make this approach sustainable in the long run?
- What (novel) elements do you identify that could invite less obvious scenarios? Would these advance and/or derail sustainability transitions?
- Community energy systems are very vulnerable to politics in the East Africa region. This is both national level politics destroying the ground for off grid supply and local level politics such as church interests trying to take over systems. An umbrella organisation is needed to protect community energy systems so they do not fail. What are your thoughts?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCvUdf0lBjE&feature=youtu.be
 
Description 26 November 2020: Professor Vanesa Castán Broto delivered a public seminar on 'Infrastructure networks and Climate' as part of The Human Geography and Environmental Social Science Seminar Series at the University of Kent. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Hosted by Dr Anika Haque, Lecturer in Human Geography, Kent, Vanesa explained that despite numerous calls for action, scientific reports and increasing public support, the international climate regime has struggled to deliver a coordinated global response to climate change, one sufficient to address the challenge of keeping average temperature changes within 1.5 degrees Celsius. The 2015 Paris Agreement consolidated the trend towards voluntarism as a trend in international climate policy. We see increasing evidence that addressing climate change depends on delivering place-based action, addressing climate-change concerns alongside broader sustainable development co-benefits. Infrastructure systems open up multiple opportunities to address climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, what is less evident in climate change responses is the realisation that reconfiguring infrastructure networks is perhaps the most effective way to address climate change. Off-grid systems provide adaptable and resilience services in areas previously excluded from centralised networks. Off-grid systems are already a reality of life in most cities, where formal and informal infrastructure systems coexist. A post-networked infrastructure landscape (Coutard and Rutherford, 2016) should be part of any climate change response in urban areas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/infrastructure-networks-and-climate-public-seminar
 
Description 3 November 2021: Queering climate urbanism 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CESET PI delivered 'Queering climate urbanism', the last climate urbanism lecture as part of the Sheffield Urbanism series. Vanesa investigated alternative perspectives on climate urbanism that looked to disrupt existing understandings about how to take action and with what purpose. The lecture considered what kinds of orientations were deployed within climate urbanism, and the extent to which reparative alternatives are even possible.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd8r3xyR2Z0&t=3s
 
Description 4 November 2021: Invited speaker in the panel session "Urban informality & inequality - a call for global climate justice" at COP26, Glasgow 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact CESET PI was invited to participate in the panel session "Urban informality & inequality - a call for global climate justice" organised by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in partnership with Cities Alliance and UK Research and Innovation. The session brought together international speakers and audience members from local and city governments; central governments; research communities; and civil society to discuss climate justice and the importance of taking account of the cumulative risks created by conditions of urban informality, inequality and climate vulnerability in developing effective responses to climate change. The panel was asked to identify priorities for action and the role that researchers, civil society actors, city governments and policy makers can play in strengthening local action for sustainable climate justice. The purpose was to help shape critical policy and research priorities for addressing climate change equitably in cities - where informality and inequality are the reality. The event helped shape priorities for research and local action to ensure better chances of achieving urban climate justice.
Vanesa received a thank you letter on behalf of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), Cities Alliance, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on her excellent contribution to the event at COP26. They thought that the panel came together really well and, although there was so much more that they could have shared, they thought the succinct interventions really demonstrated how important more integrated and coordinated action between city/local government and national government, with civil society, the research community and the private sector must be in tackling climate change; and crucially that they must ensure that local people were part of the decisions that shape their communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://youtu.be/iz5XiNVl-ig
 
Description 5 October 2021: Innovate4Cities 2021 Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Vanesa Castán Broto participated in a panel discussion at the virtual international conference Innovate4Cities 2021. Partner organizations, Cities Alliance, the CLGF and UKRI hosted a session entitled Innovation for Inclusive, Resilient and Climate-Neutral Cities on the nexus between climate resilience and urban poverty and informality. The main objectives of this joint-initiative were strengthen the narrative on the relevance of addressing urban informality and inequality in tackling climate change challenges; and identify priorities for action and collaborations among practitioners and researchers at the local level.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/innovate4cities-2021-conference
 
Description 6 January 2021: Dr Joshua Kirshner presented on 'Energy justice and sustainability transitions: Prospects for solar PV in southern Africa' at the 3rd Generation PV in the Developing World Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This event was organised by the North East Centre for Energy Materials, School of Engineering, Newcastle University, UK. The conference was aimed for engineers and physicists who are developing new materials and techniques for solar PV for low carbon innovation in the global south, but also included social scientists to discuss what works and what does not work in various contexts and local practices around renewable energy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://cesetproject.com/news/joshua-kirshner-presents-3rd-generation-pv-developing-world-conference
 
Description 8 September 2021: Investigating India's role in the East African energy landscape 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Joshua Kirshner (York) and Ankit Kumar (Sheffield) hosted an inception workshop and write-shop, "Investigating India's role in the East African energy landscape," supported by the White Rose Collaborative Fund. A mix of online and in-person speakers and participants from Leeds, Sheffield and York Universities, Columbia University (USA), The Centre for Policy Research (India), and several other UK universities, shared ideas, integrating broad questions on India-Africa engagement in energy systems, and adjacent issues around extractivism, colonialism, low-carbon transition nationalism, south-south cooperation, elite networks, energy justice and demand reduction.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021