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Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia


Renewable energy and energy efficiency are developing fast throughout the world, and their combination is increasingly able to meet the needs for available, agreeable, and affordable energy, also for the people that lack access to energy today. In addition, local energy resources are not hit by the high energy price increases that are threatening to reverse the progress in providing energy to the poor people that lack appropriate energy today. This is why sustainable energy, the combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency, is increasingly become a part of the efforts to reduce poverty.

This manual gives an overview of sustainable energy technologies that can contribute to reducing poverty and provide energy for the poor in South Asia. No one person needs all the solutions that the manual covers; but everybody needs some. The manual gives guidance on how to choose the right combination of sustainable energy solutions. This manual is part of a collection and compilation of materials developed to assist NGOs to work with sustainable energy solutions to reduce poverty. The collection also includes cases describing the practical use of the sustainable energy technologies, a financial manual for financing local energy solutions, as well as background materials.These other parts of the collection are published in English on a CD.

Chapter-2 of this manual describes briefly a way to compare different solutions and to develop a strategy for better energy supply for a village. This is included to help NGOs and others involved in development assistance to reduce poverty through the recommendation of best solutions. The chapter should be used together with other available materials and the methods normally used in planning for the development, such as gender sensitive evaluation of effects and integrated development methods.

Chapter-3 describes the most important sustainable energy technologies for poverty reduction in South Asia. Most of the descriptions include basic data on how to use the technologies as well as their costs and benefits. This is important to make a first evaluation about the relevance of the technologies in a given situation. The chapter also describes a number of important issues to consider before choosing a technology, such as: need for inputs, need for spare-parts and maintenance, typical problems, etc. It cannot, however, cover all local issues, such as local availability of technology, local knowledge or lack of knowledge about the technology etc.

Last chapter deals with the organizations and local institutions that have potential to be instrumental in promoting and proliferating the sustainable energy solutions and technologies.

In most places the currency used in this manual is Indian rupees, which is approximately equal to Euro 019, US $ 0.22, N.Rp 1.67. SL.Rp. 1.42 and Bnd Taka 1.35.

This manual is published in English, Hindi, Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Singhalese language. The manual can be downloaded from

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