Rural Energy: A Practical Primer for Productive Applications
This is part of a series of straightforward and practical (rather than an academic) papers by leading experts and presented in a specially designed format as brief and basic teaching tools with resources for more in-depth expertise. They address topics relevant to the design, monitoring, and assessment of projects and interventions for the promotion of agricultural enterprises and markets in developing countries.
Lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity services in rural areas significantly diminishes the opportunities for the development of many economically productive activities, including agro-enterprises and fishing. Reliable and affordable energy is a vital input to many agricultural and post-harvest processes. Adding energy to agricultural production and processing, often the largest employer in rural areas, is an important way to grow beyond subsistence farming and the supply of raw materials toward the potential of added value. Fortunately, there are decentralized and commercially proven energy alternatives including those that harness renewable energy. Many of these are now technically and financially viable, even in remote rural areas. This learning tool provides an overview of these technologies and their appropriate applications in the field, and includes best practice examples used on a significant scale in agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, and related enterprises (e.g., food processing) in many developing countries. It explores necessary considerations in the choice of energy and how such projects could be formulated and executed.