Measuring the impact of decentralized electricity projects: a triangulation approach

FERDI has created a unique initiative to evaluate the impacts and identify best practices in projects for access to essential services, using decentralized electrification projects as its basis. Large amounts of evaluation data covering such projects have been collected into a database called CoSMMA (Collaborative Smart Mapping of Mini-Grid Action). The evaluations available are of variable scientific quality, with most being of low quality. An innovative approach is suggested to overcome this drawback, based on the triangulation principle, which makes it possible to evaluate the success of a project with an acceptable level of accuracy. It is then possible to construct a meta-analysis to identify factors for success.

There are two primary lessons to be drawn from the data available in CoSMMA. The first is that projects seeking to increase the uptake of very low-power equipment have little chance of lasting success. Success for projects of this type will involve construction of mini-grids, not individual solutions, and therefore require collective action at the local level. The second lesson, informed by this first observation, concerns the importance accorded to questions of governance. Bottom-up governance models are more likely to succeed than top-down approaches. Lastly, good quality regulation of the sector increases the probability that the project will succeed. However, this conclusion also serves to highlight the lack of available data on the local governance structures overseeing these projects.

Citation

Berthelemy, J.C., 2020, Measuring the impact of decentralized electrification projects: a triangulation-led approach, in FACTS Report, 22, Veolia Institute, pp.108-115