Luc Tossou from Econoler writes on the importance of data collection in assessing clean energy access project performance.
An estimated 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean thermal energy services and rely on solid fuels (wood, charcoal, crop residues and animal dung) to meet their thermal energy needs. Most of these people live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). According to a projection by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the situation will worsen in SSA, resulting in a 20% increase by 2030 in a business-as-usual scenario . Several ongoing initiatives have therefore been established to improve access to clean thermal energy services. Clear and relevant indicators must be developed to adequately measure progress in SSA, especially in West Africa with which I am more familiar than the rest of SSA.
Presently in West African countries, quantification of access to clean thermal energy services only focuses on the percentage of households using clean fuels for cooking, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and biogas. In fact, national surveys and censuses only provide data on types of cooking fuel and disregard conversion technology efficiency (stoves), indoor air pollution levels, along with fuel collection and stove preparation time. Furthermore, national statistics do not provide data on access to clean thermal services such as water and space heating, since these are much less needed than cooking.
In addition to simply representing a measure of access to clean cooking fuels, aspects such as the technical performance of stoves and the time needed for fuel collection and stove preparation must also be considered in determining indicators for projects aiming at promoting access to clean thermal energy services. Integrating all these aspects in such projects is likely to effectively reduce indoor air pollution and alleviate households’ exhausting, lengthy traditional fuel collection and stove preparation effort.
In conclusion, to determine whether or not projects designed to improve access to modern thermal energy services have achieved their goal from the perspective of West African households, key indicators that should be measured include the number of households with access to both clean fuels and efficient stoves, the time spent by households on fuel collection and on stove preparation, as well as indoor air pollution levels. Data on these indicators can be collected by integrating relevant questions in regularly conducted censuses and household surveys.
– Luc Tossou, Econoler
 Koffi Ekouevi, 2013, « Scaling Up Clean Cooking Solutions » at http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/84f1630042bd9584b2e3be0dc33b630b/Scaling+Up+Clean+Cooking+Solutions+-+Koffi+Ekouevi.pdf?MOD=AJPERES