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Renewable energy in rural areas : the best path to sustainable development? a case study in rural Tanzania

Dauda, Masoud (2012) Renewable energy in rural areas : the best path to sustainable development? a case study in rural Tanzania. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94297) (KAR id:94297)

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Renewable energy innovations based on wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, and biomass energy are currently seen as offering a potential alternative to rural energy supply problems in rural Tanzania. However, such initiatives meet with some setbacks since renewable energy projects in Tanzania still face several challenges. Technical, social and economic barriers have constrained a speedy transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations in most parts of rural Tanzania. This thesis therefore explores the roles that could be played by community-based organisations in facilitating the transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations in rural areas. Community-based organisations (such as cooperative societies) can play a key role in innovation because they have the capacity to pool, aggregate, and disseminate knowledge and information to all actors in an innovation system. Cooperative societies are often positioned in both service networks and supply chains that allow them to coordinate activities and create an enabling environment for innovation. Thus, acting as innovation brokers, these organisations can utilise the available resources and existing social networks to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy technologies in rural Tanzania. This study was conducted in Magu district and employed an innovation systems approach in interpreting the main findings. The innovation systems approach stresses the importance of interactions among actors involved in technology development. It describes innovation as resulting from complex interaction between actors and institutions. The approach has provided insights into understanding the factors that facilitate or impede the transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations in the study area. Despite the government initiatives to promote renewable energy innovations in Mwanza region, the study findings suggest that only a small percentage of households in the study area have adopted solar PV systems and improved cooking stoves. The thesis contributes to the innovation systems literature in two important ways: firstly, it explores the role that could be played by innovation brokers (intermediaries) in the transfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations. Secondly, it also applies systems thinking in identifying barriers in the h'ansfer and adoption of renewable energy innovations, especially on 'a technology-specific innovation system'. Most importantly, systems thinking approach helps us to understand the connection between energy demands, poverty and sustainable development in rural Tanzania.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Rootes, Christopher A.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94297
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: renewable energy, Tanzania
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 15:23 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2022 15:23 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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