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Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa

Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa

This interdisciplinary research project, funded by the British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Grants, explores community engagement in energy governance (particularly for energy access and innovation) in low-income urban settlements of South Africa. The interdisciplinary research team comprises University of Cambridge expertise from geography, engineering, architecture and the Judge business school. The project partners with the African Climate and Development Institute (University of Cape Town) and Project 90 by 2030 (Cape Town NGO).

The research explores ways in which low-income urban communities can engage with other stakeholders in the energy domain (e.g. government, non-governmental organizations, private energy entrepreneurs) not only to improve domestic energy efficiency but also to address issues related to energy provision and access.

The research has two overarching aims: firstly, to implement an inter-disciplinary approach that delivers learning across the physical and social sciences; and secondly, to propose strategies that enable communities to efficiently engage with divergent stakeholders in the energy domain, in order to work collaboratively for better energy access and to produce and implement innovative energy solutions that are technically-, financially- and culturally-appropriate for low-income communities.

The project attempts to bridge the macro level efforts (South Africa's key development objectives) for achieving universal access to energy and low-income households' energy needs and aspirations. The primary focus is on the role of communities for better/effective energy governance: investigating the current scenario for community engagement in the South African energy landscape as well as identifying the potential role of low income communities in the process.

Fieldwork will be undertaken in Cape Town, South Africa during 2019-2020, comprising in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with low-income communities, as well as relevant NGOs working on community empowerment and participatory energy governance.

Here is a video of project PDRA Anika Haque at Project90by2030 in Cape Town, talking about her research on urban climate adaptation and gender, and with a specific focus on this project towards the end of the talk:

People

Principal Investigator: Dr Charlotte Lemanski

Postdoctoral Researcher: Anika Haque

Co-investigators:

Institutional partners:

Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa

Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa Learning between stakeholders: energy innovation for low-income housing in the Western Cape, South Africa