Thanks to WRI’s Energy Access Explorer platform and initiative, governments and others are developing data-driven, inclusive and integrated energy plans, and more than 30 rural health facilities in India and Kenya get affordable electricity through renewable energy.

The Challenge

Energy services are highly interconnected with socioeconomic development and human well-being. Yet life without reliable electricity is a reality for more than 700 million people globally. This energy gap is felt acutely by the healthcare sector, where one billion people depend on clinics and hospitals with no or unreliable electricity access.

In rural India and Kenya, clinics need consistent energy to store vaccines, power medical devices, keep the lights on, and perform life-saving procedures. Patient care can suffer without reliable power. Many health facilities must rely on polluting and expensive diesel-powered generators.

Meanwhile, expanding energy access — in healthcare and beyond — requires proper energy planning and access to transparent analytical tools and data.

WRI’s Role

WRI and partners developed the Energy Access Explorer data platform and project to address the world’s energy challenges.

We’ve worked with clean energy enterprises, development institutions, governments and others to use the Energy Access Explorer to identify clean energy opportunities and develop data-driven, integrated and inclusive energy plans.

In the healthcare sector, WRI used research, partnerships and on-the-ground demonstrations to improve patient care in India, Kenya and other parts of Africa by expanding access to renewable power. We partnered with government health agencies, energy planning departments, funders, health facility networks and civil society organizations to make the link between clean energy development and healthcare delivery.

We used the Energy Access Explorer to geolocate areas lacking reliable electricity that would benefit from distributed renewable energy. The open-source platform synthesizes geospatial datasets on resource availability, environment, power infrastructure, demographics and more to inform energy planning.

Next, we worked with partners to produce energy demand assessments, procure finance, and install distributed renewable energy systems at more than 30 clinics and hospitals. These pilot installations helped establish proof-of-concept and reveal lessons on how renewable energy can be used in a healthcare setting.

Finally, we worked with global organizations like the World Health Organization, as well as national and subnational governments, to improve policies and practices on energy planning and electrification.

The Outcome

Renewable energy installations now provide power to 28 health facilities in India and four in Kenya. These clinics and hospitals collectively service more than 2 million people. The clean energy also helps clinics save on operating costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and improve patient care.

The success of initial installations led HSBC India to fund more pilot installations through 2025. We are working with the Catholic Health Association of India, Christian Medical Association of India, Emmanuel Health Association, Basic Health Services, World Vision India and other health organizations to adopt renewable energy at their own facilities. And our funding partner, IKEA, is partnering with the Selco Foundation to install solar at 25,000 health centers in in India and more in up to eight countries in Africa.

On the policy side, WRI has supported the development of integrated and inclusive energy plans in Kenya, contributed to the Powering Healthcare Roadmaps of the governments of Zambia and Uganda, and informed the Results Based Financing electrification of woredas in Ethiopia and Nigeria’s Energizing Agriculture Program and Africa Mini Grid Program. Due to WRI’s engagement with the National Health Systems Resource Center, India’s latest Public Health Standards recommend clean energy as a solution for providing uninterrupted power to health facilities.