University of Sussex
Byrne,_Robert_P..pdf (2.49 MB)

Learning drivers: rural electrification regime building in Kenya and Tanzania

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:54 authored by Robert ByrneRobert Byrne
Rural electrification has been a long-standing objective in many developing countries. For decades, the assumption and practice has been to build centralised generating capacity and transmit the electricity over national grids. More recently, interest has grown in using PV (photovoltaic) technology as a solution to the problem of rural electrification. A private household market for PV has been developing in Kenya since 1984 and now has more than 200,000 systems installed, sold through this private market. Consequently, it is widely hailed as a success story among developing countries. Until recently, Tanzania had almost no household PV market, despite interest from a number of actors, including some of those who have been involved in enabling the rapid growth of the market in Kenya. However, sales of PV began to grow quite rapidly from the early 2000s and the trend appears to be gaining pace, with an estimated 285 kWp sold in 2007, having risen by 57% in one year. At the time of the research, there were two large donor-funded PV projects underway in the country. The research attempts to explain the dynamics of the two PV niches over the past 25 years using strategic niche management as its theoretical framework. It finds that the Kenyan niche has benefited more from donor support than is usually acknowledged. The thesis also makes theoretical and methodological contributions. It offers a way to connect first and second-order learning to expectations and visions concepts; dimensions expectations and visions; and presents a tool for systematic investigation of socio-technical trajectory developments. The thesis also suggests a number of ways in which the strategic niche management framework could be enhanced. These include stronger theorising about learning, and the incorporation of power, politics and risk into the theory.


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University of Sussex

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