Five Shifts in Thinking about Off-Grid Productive Use

In a special feature for the Mini-Grid Partnership, GET.transform highlights rural electrification insights
Productive use of energy in rural electrification
© Jeroen van der Linden

Developing a sustainable mini-grid market requires more than just subsidies and regulations. Economic activity in mini-grid villages, here in the context of “productive use of energy” (PUE), is a vital prerequisite for a project’s, and indeed a market’s viability.

GET.transform has been analysing the topic and has been working with dozens of PUE actors on setting the scene for a stakeholder dialogue. In a special feature for the Mini-Grids Partnership, Ashley Wearne, Africa Lead at GET.transform, explores five significant recent shifts from the off-grid productive use space.

One such change in perspective refers to the predominant tie between PUE interventions and local agriculture. According to Wearne, the geographical location and market position does not always allow for African rural producers, the mini-grid customers, to unlock demand for their produce, even after processing. From a value chain perspective, he argues, it is more important to address the level of demand and market linkage than to focus on value addition to the product.

The full range of off-grid PUE insights and observations will become available in an associated paper scheduled for release in 2022.