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POLICY BRIEF: Low carbon energy and development in low-income countries: Policy lessons from a study of the off-grid photovoltaics sector in Kenya

Low carbon energy technologies could contribute significantly to human development and economic growth in low-income countries. Public policy has an important role to play in fostering the markets for these technologies. This briefing, Low carbon energy and development in low-income countries: Policy lessons from a study of the off-grid photovoltaics sector in Kenya, summarises key policy lessons from historical research explaining the success of the market for off-grid photovoltaics (PV) in Kenya (including solar home systems and solar portable lights).

The briefing makes three key policy recommendations:

  • Market forces alone will not drive the widespread uptake of low carbon energy technologies in low-income developing countries.
  • Governments have an important role to play in fostering low carbon technology markets through a range of interventions
  • National institutions like Climate Innovation Centres could achieve this, but must be designed to do so. They should link across countries to learn lessons and share best practice

The paper is part of the CDKN-funded project, Pro-poor, low carbon development: Improving low carbon energy access and development benefits in Least Developed Countries, which aims to enrich understanding on the relative successful adoption of Solar Home Systems in Kenya to inform the design of Climate Innovation Centres and policy initiatives that facilitate the transfer and uptake of low carbon technologies in Kenya and other Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The project aims to identify ways in which low carbon technologies can benefit poor people by improving access to modern energy services.

Further reading:

Project homepage: Pro-poor, low carbon development: Improving low carbon energy access and development benefits in Least Developed Countries
Briefing paper: Energy Pathways in Low-Carbon Development: Briefing from STEPS Working Paper 46
Briefing paper: The political economy of low carbon energy in Kenya
Report: Sustainable energy for whom? Governing pro-poor, low carbon pathways to development: Lessons from solar PV in Kenya
Report: Energy Pathways in Low Carbon Development: from Technology Transfer to Socio-technical Transformation

 

For more information, please go to the STEPS Centre website on low carbon development.

Image courtesy Fotosearch