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Forgotten spaces: how reliability, affordability and engagement shape the outcomes of last-mile electrification in Chocó, Colombia

Tomei, J; Cronin, J; Agudelo Arias, HD; Cordoba Machado, S; Mena Palacios, M; Toro Ortiz, YM; Borja Cuesta, Y; ... Anandarajah, G; + view all (2020) Forgotten spaces: how reliability, affordability and engagement shape the outcomes of last-mile electrification in Chocó, Colombia. Energy Research and Social Science , 59 , Article 101302. /10.1016/j.erss.2019.101302. Green open access

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Abstract

A key global challenge is the provision of access to modern energy services to all. Indicators such as national electrification rates can mask significant inadequacies in supply, while delivering electricity for last-mile communities involves particular challenges. This paper presents a timely and important contribution by employing a novel mixed methods approach to understand the process and impacts of electrification in Chocó, a ‘forgotten space’ within Colombia. Chocó is a densely forested, post-conflict region that is characterised by low socio-economic indicators. The paper examines the extent to which the benefits of electricity access have been realised for five villages in the municipality of Bahia Solano. A longitudinal study including surveys, interviews and a classification of households with the World Bank's Multi-Tier Framework provides insights into household energy use, expenditure and outcomes of the electrification process. Using these findings to define future demand scenarios, an energy system optimisation model was used to design a renewable micro-grid for the study villages revealing that distributed renewable energy systems can provide a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to grid extension. The research shows that the benefits of electrification cannot be assumed, particularly where programmes have a narrow focus on energy infrastructure alone. The delivery of electricity access is not a one-step intervention. It must involve ongoing engagement and consider the social, environmental, economic and political contexts in which people live. Only through this more grounded approach will the benefits of energy for sustainable development be realised.

Type: Article
Title: Forgotten spaces: how reliability, affordability and engagement shape the outcomes of last-mile electrification in Chocó, Colombia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: /10.1016/j.erss.2019.101302
Publisher version: https://doi.org//10.1016/j.erss.2019.101302
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Energy access, Colombia, Social research methods, Energy system optimisation model, Micro-grid, Multi-Tier Framework
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081603
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