Dr Long Seng To

Visiting Research Fellow

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.



Research interests


To LS (2007) Approaches to using renewable energy in rural areas of China, Proceedings of the International Solar Energy Society Solar World Congress 2007pp. 2926-2929 Springer & Tsinghua University Press
The Chinese Government has made strong policy commitments to expand the use of renewable energy systems in rural electrification as a means of achieving sustainable development. International experience has shown that there are technical, social, cultural, institutional and economic barriers to the deployment of renewable energy systems and, thus, to their ability to contribute to the development goals of the community over the long term. This paper aims to identify promising approaches for overcoming these barriers in the context of rural China. It includes (a) a literature review of key renewable energy projects in rural China1, (b) a comparison of the lessons learnt from renewable energy rural electrification programs in other countries, (c) an assessment of the contribution of these projects to our understanding of renewable energy projects in rural areas.
Basnet S, To LS, Bruce A, Sproul A (2008) UNSW PV Projects in Nepal,
Most remote Nepali health posts and school buildings rely on poor quality kerosene and diyalo (fat wood) as a source of light. This paper reports on a recent field trip carried out by UNSW staff and students in conjunction with Renewable Energy for Clean Environment and Development (RECED) in two remote villages in Nepal during February, 2008. The original photovoltaic (PV) system at Sankhe health post, which was installed in February, 2004, was inspected and found to be, on the whole, still providing lighting, especially for emergency operations. Sankhe health post was previously using expensive and toxic kerosene light for emergency treatment at night. Kerosene light provides very poor visibility and is inadequate for surgery, particularly childbirth. The photovoltaic lighting systems provide clean, safe, and free light, improving health services for more then fifty thousand people of this local community. Similarly, many remote Nepali schools are also not able to access grid electricity. Classes are often held before and after normal school hours (10 am ? 4 pm). Students are often studying in very dim classrooms. A new PV system was installed at the local high school in Borlang-7, which provides power for class room lighting and two computers. The benefit of laptop computers was demonstrated in the field. Both systems are currently being monitored by local project participants and results are reported in this paper.
To LS (2007) ACT Energy Wise Interim Data Analysis Report: January 2005-September 2006, Energy Strategies
To LS, Karekezi S, Barnett A, Batchelor S, Mulugetta Y, Leach M, Kwapata K (2014) Agro-Industries and Clean Energy in Africa,
It is well recognised that agro-industries can make a substantial contribution to Africa?s sustainable energy supply; this paper and related research project explore the potential for agro-industries to contribute also to increasing rural access to modern energy services. Agro-industries already represent a major source of rural employment and are significant contributors to the economy of many sub-Saharan African countries. They constitute a major source of income for millions of small scale farming out-growers. Agro-industries may also have the financial and technical capabilities to overcome many of the common problems that bedevil new small and medium scale mini-grid enterprises. Tea, coffee and sugar estates already utilise energy for their processing, and in a few cases, supply energy for crop processing, rural clinics and schools for their employees within their estates. While some agro-industries already sell energy products including ethanol and electricity in national markets, agro-industries in sub-Saharan Africa could also provide energy to the local community surrounding their estate boundaries. However, their willingness to do this and the barriers that prevent their active participation in this market are not well understood. This paper will discuss some of the critical issues currently being explored by the Agro-Industries and Clean Energy in Africa (AGRICEN) research programme. " The paper argues that these agro-industries can usefully engage in the realm of sustainable energy supplies and the reduction of energy poverty in Africa. The paper draws lessons from the experience elsewhere, especially in Asia and Latin America, in highlighting the importance of agro-industries for the delivery of rural energy services. " The paper reviews the growing policy and regulatory experience in the promotion (and scaling-up) of renewable energy systems across Africa. This teases out the policy interactions in energy, industry and agriculture in some countries across Africa, and what implications these will have on the agro-industry sector to play a meaningful role in the provision of energy services. " The paper provides a preliminary analysis regarding the institutional and other barriers that may limit the contribution of the agro-industries to the mission of widening rural energy access. To this end, understanding the political economy context, innovation systems, financial landscape, and space for participation will be critical for overc
To LS, Watt M, Stapleton G (2006) Photovoltaics in Remote Indigenous Australian Communities: An Assessment of the Bushlight Community Energy Planning Model,
Bushlight is a 4-year program (now extended for another 2 years) funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Centre for Appropriate Technology, Australia. It aims to improve the livelihood choices of about 100 small remote Indigenous communities by providing sustainable energy services in the form of photovoltaic systems. This paper evaluates the sustainability, cost effectiveness and community outcomes of implementing photovoltaic systems using the Bushlight Community Energy Planning Model (CEPM) in remote Indigenous communities in comparison with the conventional practices. Using case studies of four remote Indigenous communities, it was found that the Bushlight CEPM was more likely to provide sustained energy services, and encourage community empowerment at a competitive life-cycle cost per person when compared with the conventional practices.
To LS (2009) Solar Home System Basic Maintenance & Repair Training Workbook, Rural Integrated Development Service Nepal
Francisco G, Harcourt W, Farhar BC, Osnes B, Karve P, To LS, Speer N, Sweetman C (2012) Views, events, and debates, Gender & Development20(3)pp. 607-621
To LS (2008) Monitoring and Evaluation of PV Programs in Rural Areas in the Asia-Pacific Region,
An estimated 1 billion people living in rural areas in the Asia-Pacific region do not have access to modern energy and the basic services it provides. Photovoltaic (PV) programs have been implemented in many countries in the region to address this need. International experience has shown that the continued operation of PV systems in rural areas largely depends upon institutional factors such as program design, maintenance and training. Therefore, monitoring and evaluation of PV programs along institutional and technical dimensions are essential for improving the performance of existing PV systems and future programs. This paper will discuss the monitoring and evaluation methods used for PV programs, with a special focus on comparative work in the Asia- Pacific.
To LS, Zahnd A, Riek R (2012) Building Capacity for Solar Photovoltaics in Rural Nepal, American Solar Energy Society
Women in the remote district of Humla in Nepal are largely responsible for organising and utilising traditional household energy sources and can benefit from access to improved energy services such as a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for basic indoor lighting. Solar PV lighting systems can reduce the time burden for collecting fuel, reduce indoor air pollution and reduce the risk of burns. However, local capacity for maintaining and repairing PV systems is essential for their continued operation in remote areas. This paper discusses the capacity development activities of a non-government organisation, Rural Integrated Development Services Nepal (RIDS-Nepal), within its holistic community development approach. Special attention is given to the influence of gender on capacity development.
To Long Seng, Seebaluck Vikram, Leach Matthew (2017) Future energy transitions for bagasse cogeneration: Lessons from multi-level and policy innovations in Mauritius,Energy Research & Social Science35pp. 68-77 Elsevier
Agro-industries have the potential to catalyse energy access and promote development. Mauritius is one of the most advanced countries in the use of waste from sugar processing (bagasse) to simultaneously generate heat and electricity (cogeneration) to feed into the grid, but developments have evolved over several decades with complex dynamics between different actors. A multi-level perspective is used in this paper to examine this process and to extract policy lessons for other countries. The analysis shows how policies influenced the development of the bagasse cogeneration niche and changes in the sugar and energy regimes over time. The formation of independent power producers, centralisation of sugar mills, the use of a complementary fuel (coal) in the off-crop season, and targeted financial incentives were important for the development of bagasse cogeneration in Mauritius. Mauritian sugar mills are at the forefront of niche technological and organisational innovations in response to recent reduction in sugar prices. The country has been able to respond to changes and manage niche innovations strategically due to the deployment of finance, technical expertise and strong governance structures which enabled the government to coordinate with industry. Therefore, local capacity and institutional context are important for managing transitions towards sustainable energy.