Churchill Agutu

Wednesday, April 13

Churchill Agutu, ETH Zurich | Scaling Off-Grid Technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa

A recording of this talk will be posted soon. 


Churchill Agutu
Churchill Agutu

About the talk: Access to modern energy services for developing countries is major priority for the Sustainable Development Goals. In developing countries, vast differences in contextual factors such as institutional quality, availability of resources and differences in user requirements, significantly influence how emergent energy technologies scale and evolve as they are deployed. In these contexts, the interaction between these emergent technologies and these factors is significant. Understanding this interaction between technologies and the environment in which they are deployed is therefore crucial. Off-grid electrification technologies will play a significant role in bridging the energy service access gap in sub-Saharan African countries. While technologies that can allow us to reach the intended electrification targets are available, the role of policy and financing in accelerating deployment of these technologies remains largely unaddressed.

Integrated electrification models currently play an important role in informing electricity access policy in many sub-Saharan African countries. However, current electrification models often fail to reflect policy and finance related characteristics of these off-grid technologies. This can have significant negative  impacts on electrification policy decision making. This presentation intends to highlight how we can use our understanding of off-grid electrification technologies (Mini-grids and Standalone Systems) to improve integrated electrification models and therefore better inform electrification policy for sub-Saharan African countries. We highlight the importance of accounting for financing in electrification models and discuss the importance of understanding technology inherent characteristics of off-grid technologies. 

About the speaker: Churchill Agutu is a Doctoral candidate at the ETH Zurich's Energy and Technology Policy Group. His research focuses on off-grid electrification in sub-Saharan Africa and the role of policy and finance. His work intends to develop feasible policy recommendations that can enable international agencies and policy makers across sub-Saharan Africa, to make more informed policy decisions as they work towards meeting SDG 7 in the transition toward universal electricity access. Agutu holds a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering Honors (Chemical Engineering) from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Prior to his joining the Energy and Technology Policy Group, he worked as an analyst at global not for profit, Carbon Trust and as a Climate Change Advisor at the advisory firm Promethium Carbon, working in South Africa's Low carbon and Sustainability space.