Integrated assessment of renewable energy potential: Approach and application in rural South Africa

Bastian Winkler, Stefanie Lemke, Jan Ritter, Iris Lewandowski

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    26 Citations (Scopus)
    301 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper presents the development and application of the Integrated Renewable Energy Potential Assessment (IREPA), employing a three-pronged approach: (i) literature review of renewable energy potential assessment methodologies, renewable energy technology (RET) selection factors and impact assessment methods; (ii) discussions with academic peers from natural and social sciences, and the private energy engineering sector; (iii) evaluation of the IREPA methodology through case-study research in a rural community in South Africa. Locally relevant social, institutional, environmental and techno-economic factors were explored through mutual knowledge exchange with smallholders and subsequently applied for appropriate RET selection. Three barriers to participatory decision-making were revealed: i) lack of knowledge ofrenewable energy among smallholders; ii) insufficient practical information dissemination in IREPA; iii) abstract nature of the analytical hierarchy process. The adaptions recommended by this research would render IREPA a suitable bottom-up approach for the assessment and effective implementation of RET, stimulating socio-economic development in rural areas.

    Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, [24, (2016)] DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2016.10.002

    © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-31
    Number of pages15
    JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
    Early online date10 Oct 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


    • Bottom-up
    • Energy’s role in people’s lives
    • Appropriate technology selection
    • Renewable energy implementation potential

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Energy(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)


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