Advancing demand-driven solutions for affordable, reliable, clean energy to power sustainable development around the world.
Energy supply is increasing across the developing world, with new technologies like solar charging devices, mini-grids and rooftop solar systems bringing power to unserved and underserved communities. Affordable, reliable, clean electricity can help power life-saving health clinics, light up classrooms, fuel irrigation pumps and bolster economic productivity. These improved living standards can, in turn, generate a strong demand for modern, clean energy services.
But despite these improvements in supply, reliable and affordable energy services still remain out of reach for the farmers, small businesses, health service providers and others who need electricity to reach their full potential. Extending access to electricity for all will instead require a paradigm shift in how countries develop their energy systems – from better understanding users’ electricity and development needs to prioritizing affordability over increasing supply alone. Planners, for example, must consider what electricity services farmers will require to power more effective irrigation systems to help increase productivity and improve food security, or how much energy hospitals must have to keep operations running smoothly.
WRI is helping change this supply-side energy access model by championing an inclusive, demand-driven approach. We work with local governments, technical experts, national policymakers and service delivery organizations across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and India – countries that, together, account nearly a quarter of the world’s unserved population – to address this energy-development nexus by:
Making demand for affordable, reliable and clean electricity visible.Energy Access Explorer leverages the power of satellite imagery alongside local data sets to visualize energy supply and demand, equipping electricity planners, investors, development practitioners and clean energy entrepreneurs with the information they need to close the electricity access gap. Off-grid developers, for example, can see where demand for electricity may be high, while development finance institutions can pinpoint regions in which electrification funding would achieve the greatest impact.
Linking development organizations working in underserved communities to affordable, reliable and clean energy. We help organizations delivering health, education and agricultural services articulate their electricity needs, utilize clean energy technologies to advance their work and attract investment in renewables. In India, for example, we support nonprofits bringing improved water, sanitation and hygiene to rural communities; hospitals that offer critical care to some of the country’s most remote, hard-to-reach populations; and social enterprises that equip vulnerable youth with the technical skills and job opportunities they need to secure stable, more prosperous livelihoods. We also work with development organizations grappling with similar challenges across East Africa, including health clinics dedicated to improving poor communities’ access to medical services and nonprofits helping to connect smallholder farmers to lucrative European markets. Until recently, many of these organizations have relied on expensive, polluting diesel generators during frequent power outages – an electricity supply that often drains their already limited financial resources. But now with WRI’s support, our partners better understand their power needs and are investing in more affordable, reliable, clean energy technologies. From rooftop solar systems to renewable energy mini-grids, these new sources are helping cut costs and improve service delivery in some of these countries’ poorest, most underserved communities.
Mobilizing finance for clean energy across unserved and underserved regions. We help service delivery organizations target opportunities to secure the funds they need to integrate renewable energy into their work. At the same time, we guide donors toward end-user financing for clean energy solutions that power sustainable development across India and East Africa.
Integrating demand-driven, clean energy access approaches into national and local energy strategies. WRI also partners with nonprofit, sustainable development organizations to shape countywide and national level energy plans as well as advance inclusive, user-centric energy policies. In both Kenya and Tanzania, for instance, we are working alongside our partners to provide the energy supply and demand data that local governments need to understand their communities’ electricity needs, build these officials’ capacity to develop and implement effective, equitable energy plans as well as advocate for national decision-making processes to prioritize more affordable, decentralized, clean energy solutions.