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Energy Engagement Series: Is energy efficiency the missing link in providing energy access to underserved populations?

Energy access efforts typically focus exclusively on supply-side interventions, overlooking the game changing opportunity on the demand-side to use super-efficient appliances and equipment to deliver energy services to un- and under-served populations at lower cost. Efficient end-use is a critical companion to electrification efforts, as it enables maximum benefit from a limited and often expensive supply of electricity.

Whether it's household appliances such as lights, televisions and fans, or even income-generating equipment such as solar irrigation pumps and agro-processing machines, energy efficient end-use devices have shown to be more cost effective due to their ultra-low energy consumption, despite the higher cost of the super-efficient appliances relative to conventional technologies. This applies in off-grid, minigrid and even grid-extension settings. For our next Energy Engagement Series event, we will be talking energy efficiency, and where it belongs in energy access applications.

Questions on the table for discussion include:

  • Why and how should end-use super-efficiency be considered as a tool for improving energy access?
  • How can we incentivize appliance manufacturers to develop and market affordable super-efficient products for energy access contexts? What are some of the challenges (policy, finance, and other market gaps) that may face practitioners as they market super-efficient appliances?
  • What can super-efficient devices bring to the productive uses for energy discussion, such as solar irrigation? 

As always, we will take a salon style approach, where distinguished panelists are featured, but the audience size is limited to encourage open and active audience discussion. This month, Caroline McGregor and Rose Mutiso, both from the Department of Energy will talk about their recent work on off grid energy efficiency. They will be joined by Davida Wood from WRI. 

Audience members are invited ask questions and provide their own insights throughout. All attendees should come expecting to participate! The goal is to get feedback from a variety of actors from different sectors. Practical Action will moderate to ensure that the discussion is inclusive, stays on topic, and finishes on time.

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