Return to search

Transition to clean household energy in low-income urban settlements of South Africa : safety, health and low carbon

D.Phil. (Environmental Management) / Clean, efficient, and low carbon energy services are crucial to the sustainable functioning of a household unit. Therefore, this study explores a vital query on the best pathway to achieve universal modern energy access in low-income South African households, based on information gathered from interviews in urban settlements. The thesis is based on published papers touching on thematic areas of household energy access – from baseline assessments to appraisal of modern energy programmes. A set of factors that are necessary for successful introduction and uptake of clean energy are identified for consideration by policy makers. Results indicate widespread use of paraffin and solid fuels in inefficient combustion technologies among low-income urban households even in the rich Johannesburg metropolis. In the absence of formal employment, some township residents use the basic fuels and conventional combustion technologies for productive purposes. Growth in the thermal-intensive informal businesses could be achieved faster through provision of efficient and reliable alternative energy technologies and better operational environment. This study has highlighted the undue risk borne by energy-poor households in the performance of the day-to-day energy tasks. The results show that household risk is positively correlated with the quality and quantity of energy used, with paraffin being the most risky fuel and the apparent risk being larger in non-electrified households. The affected communities have expressed a desire to adopt cleaner and safer forms of energy for residential and economic uses. It is incumbent upon the government and relevant role players to create enabling systems for acquisition of the preferred modern energy streams. An LPG intervention project in the City of Tshwane has demonstrated the inherent potential for modern energy to transform the socioeconomics and overall wellbeing of a family. The impact of such energy interventions could be improved through better-designed energy delivery models that cater for residential and productive needs, leading to sustainable communities. Education and income have been shown to be good precursors for modern energy uptake. Therefore, efforts towards sustainable energy for all should not only focus on indigent assistance and expansion of electrification, but also be intertwined with policies addressing skills need and better household incomes.
Date02 July 2015
CreatorsKimemia, David Kimani
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
RightsUniversity of Johannesburg

Page generated in 0.0023 seconds