Rural energy planning remains out-of-step with contemporary paradigms of energy access and development

M. J. Herington, E. van de Fliert, S. Smart, C. Greig, P. A. Lant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Billions of people around the world remain without access to modern energy services, the majority of whom live in rural locations. To support the deployment of these critical services, energy planners must consider complex interdisciplinary factors in the process of evaluating and deciding upon locally appropriate energy solutions. A key mechanism for navigating such complexity is to engage relevant local stakeholders in the process. In this study, we apply a systematic review to analyse process-oriented energy planning literature published over the last 35 years to explore the extent that past and present practices reflect current paradigms on energy access and development. The results indicate that the typical approach to evaluate appropriate energy solutions is siloed, disciplined in focus and non participatory. This paper highlights the need for a greater dialogue on participatory practice in the energy agenda to bring closer alignment with contemporary development thinking, and introduces an analytical framework as a way to reflect on this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1412-1419
Number of pages8
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Energy access
  • Energy planning
  • Participatory development


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