Shyu, Chian-Woei: Renewable Energy Policy in Remote Rural Areas of Western China : Implementation and Socio-economic Benefits. - Bonn, 2010. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Chian-Woei Shyu}},
title = {Renewable Energy Policy in Remote Rural Areas of Western China : Implementation and Socio-economic Benefits},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2010,
month = jun,

note = {Electricity is essential for rural development. In 2005, 1.6 billion people, around a quarter of the world’s population, living mostly in rural areas of developing countries, had no access to electricity. In general, remote rural areas in developing countries have little prospect of having access to grid-based electricity, which usually only extends to densely populated urban areas, where a large customer base justifies heavy expenditure for electricity infrastructure. One option for electrification in remote rural areas is to decentralize electricity systems based on renewable energy sources. However, such an option is not universally agreed upon. This dissertation examines a renewable energy-based rural electrification program, the ‘Township Electrification Program’, launched by the Chinese government in 2002. The Program was implemented in 1013 non-electrified townships in remote rural areas of 11 western provinces, providing electricity for 300,000 households and 1.3 million people. And at the time of research, the Program was known as the world’s largest renewable energy-based rural electrification program in terms of investment volume ever carried out by a country.
Two townships, Saierlong Township in Qinghai Province and Namcuo Township in Tibet Autonomous Region, were selected as cases for an in-depth examination of rural electrification practices in remote rural areas of western China. Both qualitative (interviews, observations, mapping, and transition walk) and quantitative (household survey) methods were applied in the field to collect data.
The main findings of the study are summarized as follows: First, political leaders’ concern over the unequal economic development of eastern and western China, as well as rural and urban areas, was the main factor triggering inclusion of the policy issue, electricity access in remote rural areas of western China, in the government’s policy agenda. Second, like other energy policies, the formulation and adoption of the ‘Township Electrification Program’ followed a ‘centralized and closed top-down’ approach within China’s communist political framework conditions, which ultimately resulted in pursuing political leaders’ conceptions instead of the energy needs of local people. Third, the implementation of the Program possessed a technical orientation (e.g. construction of stations, installation of systems), and underestimated the financial implications (e.g. electricity tariff, households’ ability to pay electricity fee, financial management) as well as human resources available (e.g. training for operators, household participation) and institutional capacity building (e.g. good governance, regulatory framework) at the local level.
Fourth, there was a change of households’ energy use pattern from traditional energy sources (such as candles and dry cell batteries) to electricity from solar PV power stations in the two investigated townships. But traditional energy sources were not totally substituted by electricity. This is due to the fact that the current electricity supply was not sufficient for households’ needs and electricity was not provided daily on a regular basis. Households still had to rely on traditional energy sources. Fifth, the impacts of the Program on the improvement of socio-economic benefits for households, the improvement of township development, and the reduction of negative environmental impacts were limited. Lastly, based on these findings, this study suggests policy recommendations for the Chinese government as well as policy implications for developing countries.},

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