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The book analyzes energy technologies, business models and policies to promote sustainable development. It proposes a set of recommendations for further activities and networking on access to energy and renewable energies and promotes an integrated approach to sustainable resource management. The book discusses access to energy, as a precondition for socio-economic progress. It depicts the global dimension of the challenge in terms of access to electricity and other forms of energy in developing countries. The three main interlinked topics related to energy and sustainable growth are separately discussed: appropriate technologies for modern energy services, business models for the development of new energy markets, and policies to support new energy systems. The description of activities and programmes of some public and private Italian stakeholders is also included.



Access to Energy and Sustainable Development

Chapter 1. Renewable Energies to Promote Local Development

Energy has been deeply linked to the history of mankind and to its development. Some of the natural forces which are today referred to as renewable energies, such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass have been known and used for centuries. Among all the different sources of energy, renewables were the first to satisfy human energy needs. Today the opportunity to overcome the development divide strongly depends on the availability of energy, and hence, the nexus between energy and sustainable development needs to be better explored in order to understand how energy can contribute to poverty reduction. In this scenario, in the chapter it is shown how renewable energies and distributed generation play a key role as they allow the utilization of local resources while preserving the environment, creating employment, promoting income generation, capacity building and local empowerment.

Emanuela Colombo, Diego Masera, Stefano Bologna

Chapter 2. Global Dimension of Universal Access to Energy

The development of human society has been marked all throughout history by the role of energy resources. The importance of energy in the global scenario has constantly risen and the interconnections with the environment and society have become more evident. The need to fight both poverty through eradication of energy insufficiency and to increase access to modern energy service is recognized worldwide. The designation of Year 2012 as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All and the subsequent Sustainable Energy for All initiative [1] promoted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to foster access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies has raised awareness in the international agenda on these issues and has opened a wide window on the problem for the coming decades. The size of the problem and some of the key challenges are discussed in the chapter.

Emanuela Colombo, Lorenzo Mattarolo, Stefano Mandelli

Energy and Technology: Tailoring Strategies and Technologies to Enhance Livelihood

Chapter 3. Modern Energies Services for Cooking: from Improved Cook-Stoves to Domestic and Community Biogas Based Systems

Energy is crucial for a better quality of life and for sustainable human development. This has been demonstrated in previous chapters. It has been widely recognized that food and water security, productivity, health, education, climate change, and communication services are greatly affected by the quality and the quantity of energy services. The lack of or insufficient access to clean, affordable, reliable energy carriers is a major obstacle to reduce poverty and to improve the conditions and standard of living for the majority of the world’s population, thus hindering economic and social development [1–4]. Increasing access to sustainable and modern energy services will enable income generation; it will also reduce the time and drudgery of collecting fuel wood; support cleaner and more efficient cooking and heating options; and finally, it could also provide indoor lighting security at night, thus enabling children to study in the evenings [3, 5–12]. Yet many in the world, especially in the developing countries, still have insufficient access to sustainable energy services. This chapter presents Improved Cook-Stoves (ICS) and domestic biogas plants as technological options to improve access to sustainable energy services at both the household and community levels. The relevance of the technology, its performances, impacts and dissemination are discussed.

Francesca Mapelli, Jerome N. Mungwe

Chapter 4. Distributed Generation for Access to Electricity: “Off-Main-Grid” Systems from Home-Based to Microgrid

Addressing the issue of rural electrification means contributing to poverty alleviation for one billion people in the World. The traditional approach for increasing electricity access in rural areas is grid extension, nevertheless large parts of these areas have low accessibility, low values of load demand and load factor. For these reasons, grid extension often results to be economically unfeasible. In this case Distributed Generation systems become the most appropriate technology option since they can be installed close to the load, they can be sized in order to best fit with local load demand, and they can be fuelled by local resources (i.e. renewables). This chapter introduces Distributed Generation (Paragraph “Electrification: the parabola of Distributed Generation”), it proposes a definition and a classification of Distributed Generation tailored to developing countries (Paragraph “Definition and classification for developing countries”), it presents the context of rural areas which are the targets for electrification strategies based on “off-main-grid” systems (Paragraph “Energy in rural areas: the target context for “off-main-grid” systems”), and finally it describes the main technical features and parameters that characterize “off-main-grid” systems (Paragraph “off-main-grid” systems).

Stefano Mandelli, Riccardo Mereu

Chapter 5. Grid Connected Systems for Access to Electricity: From Microgrid to Grid Extension

All over the world, microgrids are becoming an important paradigm to supply electricity to many different categories of customers: in developed countries, where an electricity distribution grid is already in place, microgrids are seen as a way of migrating towards the so-called Smart Grids, able in particular to provide increased reliability to final users and to exploit as much as possible renewable primary sources for the electricity generation. In this framework, it is important that, in case of a significant perturbation of the main grid, the local microgrid can disconnect and continue the operation without any particular problem, so as to increase the reliability of the supply for its customers (top–bottom approach). On the contrary, in developing countries, microgrids are often the only way to provide electricity to small remote villages, as a connection to an external main grid is not available yet. In this case, the microgrid has to be operated in a standing-alone (off-grid) mode, but it should be designed in such way that, when eventually a main grid is built, the connection of the microgrid to the main grid will be possible (bottom–top approach). In this framework, it is possible to look step-by-step at the growth of the bulk (national) power system as to the aggregation of many small microgrids. The present chapter deals with the main technical issues related to the planning and the operation of microgrids, both in the presence and in the absence of an external main grid: balancing the load, control and protection systems, voltage and frequency control, normal and emergency operations and so on. The goal is to provide a simple and straightforward synthesis of what to take into account when decisions have to be made at a higher than technical level.

Godfrey Gladson Moshi, Alberto Berizzi, Christian Bovo

Chapter 6. Technologies for Power Generation in Rural Contexts

Overcoming poverty requires self-sustained economic growth. Energy, and particularly electricity, is essential for setting up small businesses which serve the local market. Building enterprises and creating new jobs are the only sustainable means of lifting people out of poverty. In this context, energy is an instrumental right to achieve the MDGs. And particularly, according to the 2011 World Energy Outlook [1], Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) must play a prominent role in the challenge of implementing and developing sustainable energy markets. Energy supply that is only sufficient for lighting and cooking at household level (i.e. basic energy needs) and social services (health, education, etc.) is a step in the right direction. However, a stable power supply, which can be used for economic activities, provides opportunities for productive uses of energy and income generation, and therefore, lead to the creation of sustainable (energy) markets. Hence, enhancing education, reducing isolation, implementing safety measures, improving healthcare, preventing natural disasters, fostering productivity are only some of the benefits brought by the access to electricity in rural areas. Four major Renewable Energy Technologies, and most diffused storage systems will be described along this chapter. A brief description of resources assessment methodologies, an overview of main components and layouts, and some considerations about capital costs, Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), and impact are given for each RET. Moreover, hybrid systems’ main layouts and configurations are also described.

Jacopo Barbieri, Emilio Simonet

Chapter 7. End Use Application: The Case of Solar Thermal Systems

The contribution of solar thermal systems in meeting the global energy demand is, differently to what it is often perceived, among the highest compared to traditional renewable energies (such as biomass and hydropower). It is slightly lower in terms of capacity (282.6 GW


) and energy produced (581.1 TWh


/y) than wind. Moreover, it is about double of the contribution of PV and about one order of magnitude larger than geothermal and CSP (concentrated solar power). The simplest and most widespread application of solar thermal systems is the production of domestic hot water (DHW). The solar heat can also be used for active heating and cooling of buildings, although the portion of the covered load is limited by the fact that the availability of solar radiation during the heating season is in general the lowest on an annual basis. Solar combi systems (for the combined production of DHW and heating) are widespread in some local markets (mainly European). Other solar thermal technology uses, less diffuse, with a high future application potential are: production of industrial process heat, solar district heating plants, solar cooling. The descriptions given of solar collectors in this section are also valid for these cases of application. However, these uses are beyond the scope of this text. More information about technological peculiarities and sizing criteria of the aforementioned systems can be found in the literature [1–4].

Mario Motta, Marcello Aprile

Energy and Economy

Chapter 8. Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

Access to clean, affordable and reliable energy is a fundamental driver of economic growth, environmental sustainability and social development. The correlation between energy and socio-economic progress is widely recognized. Energy interacts with people and their activities in several ways as it is needed for basic survival but also for improving productivity by the mechanization of agriculture and manufacturing and thus enabling income generation through improved agricultural and enterprise development. Nevertheless, the poor spend more time and effort obtaining energy than others and spend a substantial amount of their household income on energy just for basic human survival (cooking, drinking, keeping warm). The interaction between energy production, supply and uses with the environment has also to be carefully considered: the strategies that developing countries are going to choose for their energy mix can make a great difference for their domestic and sustainable growth, as well as for the impact on the global environment and on the global development in the long run.

Stefano Bologna

Chapter 9. Financing Energy Access

Modern energy services are essential to human development, productivity, competitiveness, and economic growth [1–3]. Despite gains over the last three decades, based on 2010 data, about 1.3 billion people do not have access to electricity and about 2.6 billion people still rely on traditional biomass fuels such as fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural waste, and animal dung for cooking and heating [4]. Most of the people without access to modern energy services live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The majority of them, about eight out of ten people, live in rural areas [4]. It is projected that close to 1 billion people will lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion will continue to use traditional biomass fuels in 2030. Innovative financial mechanisms blending public and private sector resources are required to address this development challenge.

Koffi Ekouevi, Gabriela Elizondo-Azuela

Chapter 10. Integrating the Social Dimension into New Business Models for Energy Access

In the last decades, the issue of energy access has attracted increasing attention from both academic and practitioners and the debate has gone beyond purely technical issues, raising the interest of the public opinion and private citizens. Particular attention has been given to the question: how private and public organizations can ensure energy access to everybody? From this perspective, this Chapter aims to analyze and discuss three cases of social proactive organizations in the energy sector in order to highlight how they have succeeded in combining social values with environmental and financial sustainability. New business models aiming at reaching low-income communities with efficient and sustainable energy systems should take into account all social aspects linked to the energy supply chain from production, distribution to final use and ensure the active participation of local communities. This ensures that energy access initiatives lead to effective results in terms of industrial and manufacturing activities but also contribute to improve health, education and livelihoods.

Irene Bengo, Marika Arena

Energy and Policy

Chapter 11. Enabling Environment for Promoting Energy as an Income Opportunity

Policy has been central for the deployment of renewables by creating a predictable and stable framework for investors to operate. A good policy should be an instrument to achieve a vision; it is a tool that allows society to work on an agreed goal and the market to contribute to it. This is particular relevant for energy policy due to the cross cutting nature of energy and its impact on all levels of society. This chapter will explore how existing or new policy instruments could be tailored towards stimulating the use of locally available resources for energy production and how to trigger socio-economic benefits at the local level. Such benefits could include the use of biomass resources which are available as by-products of agricultural and forestry sectors, or as purpose-grown non food competing resources for electricity, heating or transport. It will be argued that renewable energy policies should promote the establishment of renewable energy enterprises at the local level in order to benefit the local economy through employment creation and income generation comparing favorably in terms of sustainability with fossil energy resources.

Diego Masera, Vittoria Paramithiotti

Chapter 12. Energy Policy Design for Low and Middle Income Countries: From Best Practices to ‘Next’ Practices

Growth in the global renewable energy market has far exceeded expectations and this is largely due to policies that have created an enabling environment for investments in renewable energy. The main factors fueling this growth are discussed in this chapter as well as similar hurdles that many developing countries face along the process of transforming policy design into action. Risk is also discussed and ‘next practices’ are introduced as the innovative, forward-looking policies that are built on community participation and involvement.

Toby D. Couture, Christina Becker-Birck

Public and Private Players: Italian Insight


Chapter 13. The Vision of Public Donors

The European policy should be directed towards an improved North-South market integration, aimed not only to the exchange of goods and services, but also to a transfer of technologies, good practices and capacities. Market integration and infrastructure development should go beyond the electricity market, thus becoming an engine of technology cooperation.

Annalidia Pansini

Chapter 14. The Contribution of Civil Society

Ranging from single individual to institution and groups, civil society encompasses all structures that have the goal of advancing a common purpose through ideas, actions, and demands on governments [1]. Civil society also includes non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs do not include profit-making activity and are not created by intergovernmental decision [2]. NGOs are defined according to different terminology: UN has depicted them as “non-profit citizens’ voluntary entities organized nationally or internationally” [3]. NGOs have been involved in the UN since its inception and their rate of involvement has grown exponentially since then. The role of civil society, in particular NGOs, the main focus of this chapter. has been explicitly recognized from Agenda 21, the sustainable development blueprint adopted at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit [4]. In the action plan, Agenda 21 presents and discusses the key role of NGOs in supporting sustainable and responsible development and contributing to policy and decision making.

Lorenzo Mattarolo, Claudio Di Benedetto

Chapter 15. The Role of Academia for Sustainable Development

Access to energy is one of the pillars of sustainable development and therefore may be considered as part of this wider research topics. Today the role of university within sustainable development is quite debated at the international level. A double volume has recently been dedicated to this issue by the Journal of Cleaner Production, representing the most updated review. In some circumstances, universities are recognised to have contributed in transforming the society and promoting the common good. At the same time, other examples proving that universities have contributed to the dissemination of unsustainable practises may also be found. Nevertheless, the responsibility of universities and higher education institutions becomes increasingly important when knowledge, skills and innovation are needed to deal with today’s global challenges such as those linked to energy. The role of Academia and some of the main related issues are discussed in the chapter.

Emanuela Colombo, Fabio Inzoli

Chapter 16. The Mandate of the Association of Producers

Widespread and sustainable energy access is universally recognised as a key indicator of a country’s development, and so is the importance of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) for health and environment preservation, satisfaction of local needs by local resources and independence from imported (fossil) fuels and their price fluctuations. What is more and more recognized (and increasingly incentivised) is the importance of private sector involvement for sustainable energy production and access, especially in low- and middle- income countries. Private producers have in fact the capacity and experience derived from their work, i.e. daily managing their plants in a profitable way. Their involvement can follow two main paths, not totally independent from each other: investment in energy sector and cooperation.

Nino Frosio

Chapter 17. The Contribution of Multinational Companies: Eni Corporate, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

The business sector led by multinational corporations has an increasingly prominent role in international development. Global consensus praises the role of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda in challenging resources to poverty reduction and various dimensions of social development, yet poverty is still widespread and new multiple challenges at a time of financial crises undermine the world ability to eradicate poverty; poverty defined not only in terms of money, but in terms of food insecurity, unemployment, violence and humiliation, lack of health care, electricity and good housing. For these reasons, during Rio + 20 Summit, world leaders have emphasized the need for a new single coherent agenda with sustainable development at its core. In this complex architecture the new global partnership for sustainable development have reified the centrality of business to development and affirmed its central role in contributing to poverty reduction.

Luigi Sampaolo, Gloria Denti, Valentina Patricola

Chapter 18. The Enabling Electricity Programme: Enel Vision and the Role of Enel Foundation

This chapter is devoted to showcase the experience and the knowledge of a global utility and its research foundation and how it can contribute to the development and implementation of cooperation strategies and projects in the energy field, fostering energy access and the economic and living standards of the disadvantaged people around the world. In 1962 Enel came into being in Italy with the aim of completing the electrification of the country, equipping it with leading-edge infrastructure and bringing electricity wherever it was needed. Today, more than 50 years later, Enel is renewing its mission and its commitment to the benefit of global communities and future generations. Creating value for business may be considered sustainable and long-lasting when it also contributes to adding value for the people and the environment. Enel operates all along the entire electricity value chain in four countries with over 74,000 employees and supplies energy to over 61 million customers every day. It oversees the generation of 98 GW of net installed capacity and distributes electricity and gas through a network spanning around 1.9 million kms. Thanks to a technologically and geographically balanced production mix, over 42 % of power produced by Enel in 2012 was at zero emission. Sustainability has become part of the company’s strategy as it is recognized having a direct impact on competitiveness and long-term value creation.

Mariano Morazzo, Giulio Lo Iacono
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