Access to modern energy services can be a key enabler of socio-economic development and poverty alleviation for communities globally. But to deliver real impact, energy services need to be socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable.  End users and other stakeholders must have a shared understanding of how an energy service will help them meet their development needs in their local context.

The Energy Delivery Model (EDM) is a participatory planning approach was developed by IIED and CAFOD. EDM aims to ensure that energy services are designed to meet the development needs of target communities as part of holistic solutions. These could be at the household level, like better lighting, the community level, like access to health services, or the livelihoods level, such as increased income from farming.

Through a six-step process, it works with the end users and other stakeholders to identify their priority needs, and the gaps or barriers stopping them meeting these needs. These could be to do with energy or with other, non-energy factors like lack of finance, training, access to markets etc.

EDM then systematically designs solutions to overcome all these gaps, and develop a business model that is financially, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Why EDM is important

  • EDM approaches energy as an “enabler” of wider development, not as an end in itself.
  • EDM builds sustainable solutions, including non-energy supporting services.
  • It can be used by any type of project developer, from local governments to community organizations and businesses.
  • It has been used to design projects of different sizes, from individual projects to solutions to meet the needs of regions of a million people.
  • EDM is currently being used in Kenya to support counties to develop county energy plans integrated with their wider development and climate action plans.

Here are the six steps for EDM implementation:

Step 1 – Identify the starting point

  • The project developer starts the process by identifying the entry point and approach to be used for providing an energy service to potential end users.

Step 2 – Be inclusive

  • This entails mapping out all the relevant stakeholders who will participate in the design process and building their awareness of the process and its aims.

Step 3 – Build understanding

  • This involves exploring the needs and wants of the end users’ needs, understanding their priority needs, and what are the energy and non-energy ‘gaps’ preventing the needs being met. It explores potential solutions and identifies the ‘value added’ of an energy service. At this stage, a value proposition is developed.

Step 4 – Design and test

  • Potential solutions are developed using the EDM tools to systematically work through different components, such as delivery infrastructure and costs and benefits.
  • The different solutions are tested by challenging assumptions and further gathering of data.

Step 5 – Optimize and review

  • The financial, social and environmental risks and how to mitigate them are assessed. This is to ensure the EDM is sustainable, and all the supporting services required are in place.

Step 6 – Prepare to implement

  • An implementation, and a monitoring and evaluation plan is developed, with specific timelines, inputs, deliverables, and roles and responsibilities assigned to each stakeholder. Once financing and other support is in place, beginning with piloting the EDM.

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