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Renewable energy for sustainable urban development: Redefining the concept of energisation


  • Nissing, Christian
  • von Blottnitz, Harro


It is widely recognised that access to and supply of modern energy play a key role in poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The emerging concept of energisation seems to capture this idea; however, there is no unified definition at the point of writing. In this paper, the aim is to propose a new and comprehensive definition of the concept of energisation. The chronological development of this concept is investigated by means of a literature review, and a subsequent critique is offered of current definitions and usage of the concept. Building upon these first insights, two planned cases of energisation in post-apartheid South Africa are contrasted to an unplanned one: they are the national electrification programme, the integrated energy centres initiative, and a wood fuelled local economy in Khayelitsha, Cape Town's biggest township. Especially the latter case, based on original data collection by the authors, provides a new understanding of specific elements affecting energisation. Finally, a new and detailed definition of the concept of sustainable energisation is developed by systematically reiterating three key elements: the target group, the concept of energy services, and sustainable development.

Suggested Citation

  • Nissing, Christian & von Blottnitz, Harro, 2010. "Renewable energy for sustainable urban development: Redefining the concept of energisation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2179-2187, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:5:p:2179-2187

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hosier, Richard H. & Dowd, Jeffrey, 1987. "Household fuel choice in Zimbabwe : An empirical test of the energy ladder hypothesis," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 347-361, December.
    2. Sebitosi, A. B. & Pillay, P., 2005. "Energy services in sub-Saharan Africa: how conducive is the environment?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2044-2051, November.
    3. Masera, Omar R. & Saatkamp, Barbara D. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2000. "From Linear Fuel Switching to Multiple Cooking Strategies: A Critique and Alternative to the Energy Ladder Model," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2083-2103, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rutter, Paul & Keirstead, James, 2012. "A brief history and the possible future of urban energy systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 72-80.
    2. Carley, Sanya & Lawrence, Sara & Brown, Adrienne & Nourafshan, Andrew & Benami, Elinor, 2011. "Energy-based economic development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 282-295, January.
    3. Bhanot, Jaya & Jha, Vivek, 2012. "Moving towards tangible decision-making tools for policy makers: Measuring and monitoring energy access provision," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(S1), pages 64-70.


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