While energy efficiency can contribute significantly towards improving access to modern energy services, energy sector investments in many developing countries have largely focused on increasing energy access by increasing supply. This is because the links between energy efficiency and energy access, is often overlooked. This oversight of energy efficiency is frequently a missed opportunity, as efficiency is often a very cost-effective energy resource. In combination with grid expansion and new clean energy generation, efficiency efforts can help to ensure that reliable power is provided to the maximum number of customers at a lower cost than would be required to increase generation alone.
In this paper we describe an analysis method for determining a country's energy efficiency priorities and devising an action plan to integrate energy efficiency as a resource for meeting a nation's energy access goals. We illustrate this method with a detailed case study of Uganda. If the most efficient technologies on the market were adopted in Uganda, 442 MW of generation-level demand could be offset and energy access for an additional 6 M rural customers could be achieved by 2030. Of this technical potential for efficiency, 91% is cost-effective, and 47% is economically achievable under conservative assumptions.