UCL Energy Institute


Inclusive energy planning in the Global South project funded

20 November 2020

UKRI GCRF has announced today £1.3m funding for the Grounded Energy Modelling for equitable urban planning development in the global South (GEMDev) project

Photo shows power cables and a building in Lima, Peru

Data driven approaches such as Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs) have gained prevalence in energy planning. They model urban energy consumption on a building-by-building basis and allow  industry, governments and local authorities to test and assess the impact of different energy conservation measures and policies. Whilst these such models are a useful resource, they have been created and tested in developed cities in the global North and exclude communities that are off the grid of energy services. 

Communities which are off the grid of energy services, have limited or precarious access to affordable, reliable or safe energy. Limited access to energy can have profound effects on people’s health and economics opportunities. The absence in off grid communities in data driven models such as UBEMs therefore risks further marginalising vulnerable communities by either failing to address their needs in policies and solutions, or by entirely overlooking them.

The GEMDev project proposes to use participatory research methods to co-create the data sets with off-grid communities. Working with communities in Lima and Ahmedabad, the new data will help inform actionable strategies for future redevelopment to ensure dignified housing and habitat for the urban poor. The research process is designed to increase communities’ capacity and skills, to amplify their voice in the planning processes that have profound impacts on their lives and to ensure that they are represented in the UBEMs of the future.

This 3-year research project is a partnership between partnership between UCL, CRDF-CEPT (Ahmedabad) and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Foro Ciudades Para la Vida, CIDAP and CENCA (Lima). It has been funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Collective Programme, a research programme designed to impact global health, education, sustainable cities, food systems, conflict and resilience.

The UCL project team is led by Professor Paul Ruyssevelt (PI), Energy Institute with support from Dr Julia Tomei (Co-I), Institute for Sustainable Resources, Dr Rita Lambert (Co-I), Bartlett Development Planning Unit, Dr Pamela Fennell (Co-I), Energy Institute and Mr Harsh Jatkar (Researcher) Energy Institute and Bartlett Development Planning Unit.

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