Renewable energy technologies for rural development

This paper provides an overview of some of the issues surrounding the use of renewable energy technologies (RETs) to increase access to modern energy services in rural areas. RETs include, inter alia, the provision of electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, water, tide/wave and geothermal, and the provision of other modern energy services that are powered by renewable sources for activities such as household heating, space conditioning and water pumping. These kinds of technologies have long been subject to international debate and action as a means of expanding access to electricity by means of off-grid or grid extension programmes. Similarly, the development of RETs such as improved cookstoves to increase efficiency and reduce health impacts of traditional fuel use has had a long history and has shown some success. However, growing concern over climate change and the increasing acceptance of a need for low-carbon development trajectories have provided renewed emphasis on improving access to modern energy services using RETs.