The dynamics of urban household energy poverty and energy transition in Mozambique

Carlos Shenga, Matthew Cotton, Joshua Kirshner, Lorraine Howe

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Among developing nations, Mozambique has set an ambitious target to achieve universal energy access by 2030 and thus meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. By the end of 2024 the government expects to double domestic electricity access to 64 per cent of the population. Yet the quantitative evaluation of electricity access rates belies challenges of energy service affordability, household budgeting, and fuel and technology availability and choice. With growing concern over issues of energy poverty and energy justice for vulnerable low-income communities, this study provides an in-depth qualitative evaluation of the lived experience of energy access and energy poverty in urban Mozambique, through household interviews in the four biggest cities in the country. There are three main findings. First, we find qualitative indicators of energy wellbeing in urban households, however this energy wellbeing is divided politically – with energy service benefits felt most strongly in municipalities governed by the dominant party: Frelimo. Second, sustainable energy transitions in urban households are limited by the low uptake of renewable energy sources. Third, despite the majority having grid-connected electricity access, many urban households continue to use non-renewable fuels (gas and charcoal) for cooking and view renewable sources, such as solar panels, as a short-term energy fix. We argue therefore that greater policy emphasis upon small-scale renewable energy investment, uptake and implementation in urban localities is needed to spur action on sustainable energy poverty alleviation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-72
JournalPeople, Place and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022


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