The final webinar in the current Regional Energy Learning Alliance series took place on Thursday 13th May 2021. Our CESET partner, Collen Zalengera, chaired the webinar and introduced our international panel of guest speakers – Drs Jiska De Groot and Norman Mathebula, University of Cape Town and Professor Federico Caprotti, University of Exeter – who presented on “off-grid urban service provision: wellbeing and sustainability”.
Off-grid informal urban spaces are often conceptualised, and treated in practice contexts, as disconnected from the formal grid, and from more formal areas of the city. At the same time, these spaces are subject to constraints (usually regulatory and legal) that mean that formal connections are desired in policy and on the ground, but not deliverable in practice.
The Energy4Wellbeing project focused on an experimental approach to providing off-grid solar infrastructures to part of an informal settlement community in Qandu Qandu, Cape Town. The project provided the opportunity to move beyond a focus on the purely technical, by thinking about off-grid spaces, and the formal grid, in a single service focus way, to more experimental approaches that could be linked to themes such as wellbeing, and sustainable business models.
A Q&A session followed the presentation and questions included:
- How did the houses receive the mini grids, were they seen as temporary until they received full and more affordable access to networked electricity or were they seen as a permanent feature of urban life running in tandem to the grid?
- In Mozambique there was a separation between rural and urban areas, with rural off grid and rural on grid, so there was a separation of technological territories with strict boundaries. The Energy4Wellbeing shows an overlap, could you comment on this?
- How did you decide to focus on gender?
- Did you have any conflict resolution procedures?
You can access a copy of the presentation slides at: https://cesetproject.com/news/rela-webinar-4-available-watch-youtube
To find out more about the project visit: https://energy4wellbeing.weebly.com/