The CHOICES SA (Community and Household Options In Choosing Energy Services) Project is exploring the feasibility of community-participation models for delivering rural energy services that result in greater local benefits. The project aims to work with local communities to explore local renewable energy sources, and attract investors in a process that can improve people’s quality of life, create local employment and development opportunities.
Specifically, the project aimed to explore and promote the feasibility of community-driven energy service delivery that result in greater local benefits, the use of local renewable and clean energy resources options, catalyse long term support from municipalities and investors, whilst building communities’ capacities to understand sustainable energy markets and attract investment. Key local benefits include improving people’s quality of life, creating local employment and development opportunities.
OneWorld undertook to conduct a baseline household survey, manage and engage with community participants and stakeholders, map investor and funding opportunities, evaluate technology options that met community needs, build local capacity through the development and implementation of a communication plan that included investor information and workshop outcomes, and finally, review replicable models and approaches to develop a menu of relevant community energy options.
Key outcomes of the CHOICES project included the transfer of key knowledge concepts, the endorsement of alternative community-owned energy solutions by local government and positive uptake by municipal and community stakeholders, and the possibility to replicate the model at district level. The report prepared by OneWorld highlights information and actions needed that are key to the next steps of Participatory Energy Surveys, Stakeholder Management, Communications planning, Investor Mapping and identification of Local Energy Resource Options.