Views on productive use in rural areas

From energypedia


This article is based on the presentation by Carsten Hellpap in October 2018 at the S-@ccess conference.[1]

It summarises the change of perspective into productive uses that traditionally are originated in agricutlural acitvities, but nowadays include also other socio-economic acitvities.

Views on productive uses

Traditional narrow view

Rural Activities = Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Fishing ; productive use means use of electricity for motive power (grinding, pumping, oil pressing etc.) and cooling (refrigerating, freezing) by farms

Broader view includes different non-farm economic activities of small industries and businesses: manufacturing (metalworking, wood processing, leatherworking, pottery, tailoring) on artisanal and semi-industrial level, construction, commerce (wholesale, retail, repair) Transportation and storage recreation, food services and entertainment services (information, communication, finance, insurance, administration, education, health and social work, professional and technical services) other activities like tourism, Real Estate, mining, quarrying, electricity and water supply and accommodation

Much broader view includes all socio-economic uses of electricity that improve quality of life education, knowledge, information health, working environment social recognition and self-esteem

Energy needs for Productive Uses

The energy needs of the different areas of productive use comprise six basic types of energy applications:

  1. Lighting
  2. Information and Communication Technologies
  3. Motive power a) low power b) medium power c) high power
  4. Space heating
  5. Product heating
  6. Product cooling (adsorption/absorption)

Role of Information and Communication

Agricultural Activities

  • Where to find seeds/ fertilizer
  • New farming methods new equipment
  • Weather
  • Market situation price
  • Customer management
  • Book keeping
  • Profitability analysis of products of commercial activities

Additional Energy Needs

  • Light
  • Motive Power (grinling, cutting)
  • Transportation
  • Irrigation
  • (Space heating)
  • (Producti heating)
  • Product cooking

Small village stores

  • Where to find good suppliers of products
  • new products
  • transportation
  • Market situation price
  • Customer management
  • Book keeping
  • Profitability analysis

  • (Light)
  • Motive Power (Grindling)
  • transportation
  • Space heating
  • Product heating
  • Product cooling

Levels of Supply for Productive Uses


Tier 0

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5


Energy  meets some basic requirements

Energy partially meets the requirements

Energy fully meets the requirements

Energy largely

meets the requirements

Energy fully meets the requirements


20% of working hours

40% of working hours

60% of working hours

80% of working hours

All working hours

General Conclusions

  • Energy access requires additional complementary measures to stimulate rural development (integrated approach)
  • Productive use in rural areas means supporting
    • agricultural activities
    • non-farm activities
    • self-development and health of the rural population
  • It is possible to pave the ground for income generation and economic growth even with low amounts of energy
  • Assessment of the level of access to energy for productive use depends on energy requirements and availability of different forms of energy (electricity, mechanical energy, thermal energy, animal power etc.)

Further Information