Chair of Development Economics
Impact evaluations of access-to-energy programs targeted at households

Impact evaluations of access-to-energy programs targeted at households

The Netherlands are the most important bilateral donor in the energy sector. In 2004 the Dutch Development Cooperation agreed on an output target of 10 million people being supplied with access to energy by 2015 as part of the action plan towards the MDGs. Later, in 2008 € 500 million were made available for renewable energy in developing countries through the “Promoting Renewable Energy Programme” (PREP), which was planned to run from 2008 to 2013. The ultimate goal of PREP was to contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality and a reduction of the negative effects of energy use on the climate. By 2009, PREP started to fund activities in 33 countries, including electrification interventions, the provision of solar home systems, biogas, biofuels and efficient cooking stoves among others.
Following a debate in domestic policy about the effectiveness of Dutch aid, the Dutch Government committed itself in 2009 to a rigorous evaluation of the achieved impacts of PREP. Hence, in September 2009, Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) elaborated overall Terms of Reference for the evaluation of programmes supported through PREP in three countries. The evaluations should use quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods and focus on the medium and long term effects of these programmes on end users or final beneficiaries. The evaluations were thought to glean insights into the types and magnitude of impacts by rigorously quantifying the effects of Netherlands' supported development interventions. The impact evaluations were designed in particular to help to better understand the extent to which activities reach the poor. The overall purpose of the impact evaluations was to account for assistance provided and to create the possibility to draw lessons from the findings for improvement of policy and policy implementation.

Following a public tender, IOB commissioned a consortium integrated by the German Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Passau. Between 2010 and 2014, the consortium evaluated in total nine projects in three countries – Burkina Faso, Rwanda and Indonesia.

In 2015 the project was awarded PEGNet’s Best Practice Award for its effective interaction between research and practice.

The chair of Development Economics was in particular involved in the following four evaluations:

  • Market based distribution of solar home systems in the Kénédougou province of Burkina Faso.
    Baseline Report
    Impact Evaluation Report                                                                                                                  

A related paper is published as:
G. Bensch, M. Grimm, M. Huppertz, J. Langbein and J. Peters (2017) Are Promotion Programs Needed to Establish Off-Grid Solar Energy Markets? Evidence from Rural Burkina Faso. Forthcoming in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Also available as Ruhr Economic Paper #653, RWI Leibniz Institute of Economic Research, Essen.


IOB has produced the following books in relation to this project


See also the following position papers:

M. Grimm and J. Peters (2012), Improved Cooking Stoves that End up in Smoke? RWI Position Paper 52, RWI, Essen.

M. Grimm and J. Peters (2016), Solar Off-Grid Markets in Africa. Recent Dynamics and Role of Branded Products. Forthcoming in Facts Reports – The Journal of Field Actions, Special Issue 15 | 2016 : Decentralized Electrification and Development.


And related work on the effects of electrification on fertility in Indonesia:

M. Grimm, R. Sparrow and L. Tasciotti (2015), Does electrification spur the fertility transition? Evidence from Indonesia. Demography, 52(5). 
[Demography is the world-wide leading journal on issues related to population and demographic trends. The journal has an SJR impact factor of 2.968]

Press articles are available here:

"Besparing door nieuwe cooking stoves - Burkina Faso minder dan verwacht", Vice Versa Magazine.

Improved Biomass Cooking to Fight Climate Change and Poverty”, RWI Impact Note.