Access to energy is universally recognised as a human right and a crucial factor in community development. In Europe, a simple flip of a switch lights up homes, but in the rest of the world, over one billion people lack access to electricity.
It is therefore necessary to find a solution to bridge the so-called energy divide, the gap between those who have access to energy services and those who are cut off from them. In order to develop more effective strategies, the Enel Foundation Studies Centre and the UNESCO Chair of the Polytechnic University of Milan, which are supported by the Enel Group's extensive experience in the fields of technology and social responsibility, are developing an integrated assessment model for cooperation projects in the energy sector.
The assessment is based on the five criteria of the globally recognised DAC-OECD (Development Assistance Committee – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and it consists in two phases: the first (internal evaluation) concerns the project's performance, while the second (external evaluation) analyses the project's impact on the region in which it is carried out.
In the internal evaluation, the first four DAC-OECD criteria of the project (effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and sustainability) are calculated by using a common metric and comparing them with other projects, in order to identify the best strategies for the various categories (education, health, agriculture, business development and so forth).
The second phase assesses the project's local impact (the fifth DAC-OECD criterion) by measuring the project's effects on the community's five types of capital: natural, physical, human, social and financial.
This type of assessment will be applied to the Enel Green Power project in Ollagüe (Chile), a remote mining village that is not connected to the country's national energy grid. The innovative project, which combines solar PV power, small wind power and a cogeneration system to produce electricity and hot water, provides local communities with access to electricity 24 hours a day with the help of an electrochemical storage system.
The integrated assessment model thus offers an innovative scientific protocol to analyse how kilowatt hours will become a real asset for the local community, promoting sustainable and equitable development.