Review Article | Published:

Challenges and gaps for energy planning models in the developing-world context

Nature Energyvolume 3pages172184 (2018) | Download Citation


Energy planning models (EPMs) support multi-criteria assessments of the impact of energy policies on the economy and environment. Most EPMs originated in developed countries and are primarily aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing energy security. In contrast, most, if not all, developing countries are predominantly concerned with increasing energy access. Here, we review thirty-four widely used EPMs to investigate their applicability to developing countries and find an absence of consideration of the objectives, challenges, and nuances of the developing context. Key deficiencies arise from the lack of deliberation of the low energy demand resulting from lack of access and availability of supply. Other inadequacies include the lack of consideration of socio-economic nuances such as the prevalence of corruption and resulting cost inflation, the methods for adequately addressing the shortcomings in data quality, availability and adequacy, and the effects of climate change. We argue for further research on characterization and modelling of suppressed demand, climate change impacts, and socio-political feedback in developing countries, and the development of contextual EPMs.

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  • 04 May 2018

    In the version of this Review originally published, in Table 3 seven entries in the columns ‘Developer’ and ‘Country of origin’ were incorrect (see the Author Correction notice linked to this Review); these errors have now been corrected. All other entries in the Table are unaffected.


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  1. BRE Trust Centre for Sustainable Engineering, School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

    • Kumar Biswajit Debnath
    •  & Monjur Mourshed


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Correspondence to Kumar Biswajit Debnath.

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