The use of small scale off-grid renewable energy for rural electrification is now seen as part of the sustainable energy solutions. The expectations from such small scale investment is that it can meet basic energy needs of a household and subsequently improve some aspects of the household welfare. However, these stated benefits remain largely hypothetical because there is data and methodological challenges in existing literature attempting to isolate such impact. This paper uses field data from micro hydro schemes in Kenya, and propensity score matching technique to demonstrate such an impact. The study finds that households connected to micro hydroelectricity consume 1.5 litres less of kerosene per month compared to households without any such electricity connection. Also, non-connected households spend 0.92 USD more for re-charging their cell phone batteries per month in comparison to those who were using micro hydroelectricity service. Finally, school children from households that are connected to micro hydroelectricity were found to devote 43 minutes less on evening studies compared to those in non-connected households. The findings provide interesting insights to some of the claims made for or against use of o grid renewable energy for rural electrification.
The impact of micro hydroelectricity on household welfare indicators
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