On 21st July 2021, Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), SNV, ENDEV and World Resource Institute (WRI) hosted a webinar to introduce a data-driven approach for identifying priority areas for productive uses of energy (PUE) interventions using the Energy Access Explorer (EAE) as a tool. This was based on a project done in Bungoma, Makueni and Narok counties to map data for PUE. The webinar provided a platform to facilitate dialogue for practitioners, policymakers, academics, civil society, and other stakeholders to better inform energy planning and decision-making for energy investments in the PUE sector.
Productive Uses of Energy are a key driver of economic development since they can power industrial, agricultural, and commercial appliances to generate income as well as support efforts towards economic growth. Further, PUE has the potential to boost off-grid economies and create new businesses. It is this that led to the development of an EAE tool to supplement the emerging area.
In his opening remarks, Victor Gathogo, SNV Energy Advisor, reiterated the importance of the EAE tool. The project, which was funded by ENDEV through SNV, was designed based on Kenya’s SE4ALL action agenda as a response to Kenya’s strategy for national electrification by 2022. This strategy outlines the comprehensive plan to connect households, businesses, and public facilities through the grid, mini-grid, and stand-alone off-grid solutions. However, as this is an emerging sector, there has been a gap for stakeholders to access an open source geographic information systems (GIS) tool that avails granular data that can be used to make strategic decisions.
During the webinar, participants had an opportunity to receive an online demonstration of the web-based EAE tool’s interface, functionalities, and data sets. The web-based interface has three sections. The controls to select data sets, the map view section where one can visualize data sets selected, and the statistical analysis section of the areas one has prioritized in their selection. This tool can be used by energy practitioners, energy planners, donors, and development finance institutions. The data sets are grouped into three groups; demand, supply, and other. The tool can also generate a user report. Currently, there is a public-facing web browser that is available for all users online. Participants had an opportunity to share some of their views, including the importance of incorporating data from other counties in the tool and allowing access to the general public to populate data. They also requested additional training on how to use the tool effectively.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Dimitris Mentis, WRI, Lead Energy Access Explorer, affirmed the stakeholders that the team is currently sifting the data on productive uses of energy into the public-facing interface that will be available to the public. Also, if you would like to attend training workshops on the tool, you can get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
To listen more to this insightful webinar and tap into the future possibilities of PUE, click this link.
This article was written by Anne Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.