In the last few decades, climate protection, sustainable economic development and
energy security have received increasing attention. Access to clean, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy has been identified as one of the key requirements
in sustainable development (Vera and Langlois, 2007). Energy is increasingly at the
centre of international debate on development, disaster risk reduction, environment and climate change (UN, 2015; World Bank and IEA, 2015). Energy access has also been termed as one of the most important social justice issues of the modern times. Energy poverty is for instance considered a major challenge and hindrance to development especially in developing countries like Kenya (Bugaje, 2006; Butler, 2018; UNDP, 2005). Energy poverty not only aggravates food insecurity, water scarcity and vulnerability to climate change, but also adversely affects the general health and wellbeing of the people (Holtermann and Nandalal, 2015; Joubert, 2016; Leck et al., 2015).
Providing abundant energy to all without causing harm to the planet is an immense challenge facing humanity (Cassidy, 2014; DOE, 2018; Marić et al., 2016). If a high-energy future while protecting the natural world for posterity is a desired outcome, then the environmental consequences of energy production and use must be considered at all levels of decision-making processes. Financing of efficient clean energy development and use is a critical factor as well when considering sustainable energy pathways (Gillingham et al., 2009; Sarkar and Singh, 2010; Wang, 2013). Energy solutions that overlook economic costs are not realistic, especially in a highly unequal world where billions of people currently can’t afford access to basic energy services (Gillingham et al., 2009).
The big question then becomes: how can progress be made? Although there may
be a raft of possible answers to explore, one of the most promising solutions that is
preoccupying governments, academic and research institutions, and the civil society is promoting energy efficiency (EE) and energy conservation practices.