Sustainable Energy Systems and the Urban Poor: Nigeria, Brazil, and the Philippines

Joy Clancy*, Olu Maduka, Feri Lumampao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter reviews the available literature which is dedicated to urban livelihoods and energy. The documentary and empirical evidence here is considerably thinner than for rural livelihoods and energy. The patterns of urban fuel use are dynamic and complex. As in rural households, urban household energy provision is primarily the responsibility of women. Households use a mix of fuels and there are signs that even poor households use modern fuels. All income groups still use considerable amounts of woodfuels. All fuel types can be purchased, but this is not always the case. For urban households energy costs can form a significant part of household budgets, although the amount paid is in part influenced by the cash flow patterns of poor people. The factors that influence switching to modern energy are extra- and intra-household. Extra-household factors include the size of the urban area influencing biomass fuel availability. Legal issues such as tenure of the property can affect the possibility for an electricity connection or LPG delivery. Questions of supply reliability prevent a complete transition from wood or charcoal to modern fuels, as does the availability of appropriate and affordable conversion equipment. The intra-household factors can be divided into two: the preference for one energy form over another and gender issues. Energy preferences are complex. Modern energy carriers are advocated for a number of reasons to displace traditional woodfuels. However, it appears that only in large cities or where there are enforced environmental policies to prevent deforestation, woodfuels are being displaced by other energy carriers. The challenge is not to displace woodfuels but to make their production more sustainable. The key here is to work with producers to develop a sustainable supply system to develop mechanisms that provide win-win situations. © 2008

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Energy Transition
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Fossil Fuels to Renewable Power
EditorsPeter Droege
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-045341-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


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