Energy Challenges in Developing Communities

**For best viewing, please use Google Chrome**

We are a group of five students studying for an MSc in Sustainable Engineering: Renewable Energy Systems and the Environment. This website is a showcase of our project which is focused on Energy for Development.

"Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country's economic development; and yet globally 1.2 billion people are without access to electricity and more than 2.7 billion people are without clean cooking facilities"

This quote from the International Energy Agency shows the scale of the global challenge to give people access to energy. The World Health Organisation states that cooking-related air pollution causes 4 million people to die prematurely every year. Affordable and clean energy is therefore one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We feel that renewable energy has an important role to play in providing energy access for all. Today, there are many organisations trying to tackle energy issues in developing countries; however, projects do not always succeed due to design, implementation or maintenance issues. The challenge is to ensure that these projects will be long-lasting and sustainable. Our project aims to address this, by developing a methodology for the design of renewable energy systems in off-grid, developing communities.

Project Definition


To develop a methodology for designing sustainable renewable energy systems in off-grid developing communities​


1. Create methods to address gaps in data which is used to design renewable energy systems ​
2. Recommend ways in which renewable energy systems can better achieve a community's development aspirations​
3. Demonstrate the proposed methodology with a case study village: Pangboche, Nepal​

Pangboche in Nepal is the case study
used in the project

Remote developing communities are
often without electricity


The following renewable energy technologies are considered within the methodology to address development goals of communities:

Biomass and ICS

Use: cooking and heating

Biomass is traditionally used in many countries and causes health problems related to poor indoor air quality from open fires. Clean alternatives can include biogas and improved cook stoves (ICS).

Micro Hydro

Use: electricity

Pico and micro hydro technologies (<5 and 100kW respectively) can be used for mechanical processes, such as pumping water, or it can be used to power to generate electricity.


Use: electricity and water heating

Solar thermal and PV can provide water heating and electricity for lighting and small appliances in countries with high solar irradiance.

Housing improvements

Use: demand optimisation

Simple housing upgrades such as shading or insulation can reduce demand for heating and cooling of buildings.


Use: electricity

Small wind turbine designs, such as the Hugh Piggot turbines, can be used for powering lighting and small electrical appliances.

Energy Storage

Use: electricity and heating

Due to the stochastic nature of renewable energy, for a consistent supply some form of energy storage is required. The most common forms are batteries and biofuels.

Contact Us

Meet the team

Back to top