Project Partners


UCL Energy Institute

The UCL Energy Institute aims to carry out world-leading research in the fields of buildings, energy systems, people and energy, policy and law, smart energy and transport. Through bringing together different perspectives, understandings and procedures in energy research, the Institute aims to transcend the boundaries between academic disciplines, enabling UCL to draw on the full gamut of academic research to address modern energy challenges. Core activities for the Institute include teaching, research and enterprise, and the multidisciplinary team of researchers and students also co-ordinate teams from across the University, providing the necessary capacity and personnel for the management of ambitious projects.

The team working on the project from the Energy Institute are Dr Xavier Lemaire, Daniel Kerr and Prof Tadj Oreszczyn.

Xavier Lemaire has a background in management and sociology with over 20 years’ experience in clean energy policies and regulation, energy access and the analysis of territorial development and infrastructure projects in the Global South. He has worked as a practitioner and a researcher on energy access programs researching business models and organisational/institutional framework for the scaling-up of the dissemination of small clean energy technologies. Xavier is co-leader and acting principal investigator of the project.

Daniel Kerr is a mechanical engineer, and has worked in policy and regulation for sustainable energy, as well as promoting sustainable energy access in rural communities of developing countries with Xavier for the past 5 years.

Prof Tadj Oreszczyn is a Professor of Energy and Environment at the UCL Energy Institute and principal investigator on the project, with 28 years of multi-disciplinary energy demand research experience.


Sustainable Energy Associates

Sustainable Energy Associates (SEA) are an independent international research, consulting and advisory firm, active in energy for sustainable development and climate change issues in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The expertise of SEA covers a wide range of topic areas, including clean energy policy, regulation and financing; project design, development and evaluation, and techno-economic energy project analysis. SEA has recently been active in developing rural energy programmes in Somalia and Lesotho, and research on resource recovery and reuse in South Asia. The organisation has also partnered with development agencies, including the UNDP, to develop and implement clean energy and energy access programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The team working on this project from SEA are Dr Binu Parthan and Asha Raj.

Dr Binu Parthan is working on the STEPs project from SEA as co-leader of the project. Binu is the principal at SEA and a former Deputy Director-General at REEEP, and has over 20 years of professional experience in financing, policy and technology aspects of clean energy and climate change.



Econoler is a world-renowned consulting firm based in Quebec, specialising in the design, implementation, evaluation and financing of energy efficiency programs and projects. Econoler have been operating for the past 30 years in industrialized, emerging and developing countries, on more than 3,000 assignments worldwide. Most of these projects have been carried out for using public private partnership approaches for utilities, private enterprises, and governments, as well as for major multilateral and bilateral organizations. The company’s activities cover the full spectrum of renewable energy and energy efficiency support, from financing mechanism design and fund management for clean energy, to climate change mitigation and adaptation, to institutional and regulatory framework analysis for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Michael Philips and Stephanie Nour represent Econoler on the project. Michael is a Technical Expert at Econoler with over 30 years of experience in the energy sector, and is a recognised authority on the development and financing of sustainable energy programs and projects.


Restio Energy

Restio Energy was established in 2001, in response to the increasing need for innovative, sustainable and commercially-based solutions to Africa’s growing energy challenges. The vision of the company is to contribute to an energy poverty-free Africa, through offering intelligent options to enable the sustainable transition to renewable energy. Since its inception, Restio Energy has been at the forefront of tackling energy poverty in Africa – whether through creating the necessary enabling environments, developing innovative delivery models for sustainable energy access, or practically commercializing clean energy products. Restio Energy works with different technologies, people and contexts to develop appropriate solutions for improved modern energy access.

Robert Aitken represents Restio Energy on the STEPs project. Robert has worked in the off-grid field for 13 years, focusing on household energy, energy access, energy policy and sustainable energy service delivery models. He has been closely associated with a number of off-grid utilities over the past decade, including assisting with the establishment of Nuon-RAPS (NuRa) Utility, which offers solar home systems to 14,000 customers in South Africa.


University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is one of the UK’s top research institutions, with wide-ranging and long-established experience in international collaboration, as well as one of the most impressive global track records in the commercialisation of research and promotion of entrepreneurship. The Faculty of Engineering and Environment at the University represents the largest and most diverse engineering and environmental science grouping in the UK, with strong links between research, education and enterprise and a dynamic cross-disciplinary approach giving the ability to maximise the impact of research, and produce suitable solutions in all areas of study.


Former Staff

Gabriel Desmarais formerly worked on the STEPs project with Econoler. Gabrial is a Project Manager at the company, and has significant expertise with large-scale research and development projects.