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Driving new technology adoption in South Africa’s energy sector

Simon Croxton

Briefing, 4 pages

In South Africa’s energy sector, several renewable technologies are mature enough to roll out, but need the right support in the right contexts. Around the world, attempts to adopt new or improved technologies often fail because they focus on the ‘hardware’ and ignore the complex mix of interconnected social, institutional, economic and policy issues that can limit success. Academic studies reveal the main ingredients for successful technology adoption, and this briefing outlines these for policymakers and practitioners, along with some practical guidance in the context of energy access and rural development in South Africa and the CHOICES project.

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One in five people around the world – 1.3 billion people – lack electricity to light their homes or run their businesses, while wealthy countries consume vast amounts of electricity every day. IIED’s energy team works to promote access to sustainable energy for the poorest communities and a more equitable consumption of energy resources. Energy access is an area of great inequity. Access to sustainable modern energy services underpins health, education and livelihoods and increases resilience to climate change – yet millions of people have no access to electricity and use dangerous and unhealthy fuels for lighting and cooking.

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Improving people’s access to sustainable energy