Today, about 1.1 billion people worldwide live in energy poverty. Access to clean, reliable energy can offer much more than electricity to populations in developing countries. The growing renewable energy sector is creating thousands of jobs, and innovative energy services are enabling access to other critical goods and services. Below are recent articles highlighting developments in the renewable energy sector and how innovations are solving major problems in the developing world.
Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative Gathers Steam by Sandy Dechert on CleanTechnica
Last week, the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative held its second annual Forum in the UN General Assembly hall. The partnership aims to meet the following three goals by 2030:
- Ensure universal access to modern energy services
- Double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- Double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency worldwide
Since 2011, more than 90 million people have been provided with access to sustainable energy under the initiative. Last week’s forum built moment on energy issues. More than 40 ministers and top figures from business, international organizations, and development banks attended along with over a thousand participants from both developed and developing countries. A full list of commitments made at the forum can be found here.
India Eyes a Million Jobs from Renewable Energy by 2022 by Chaitanya Mallapur on Business Standard
The renewable energy sector in India is responsible for creating 400,000 jobs as of 2014, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). If the government reaches its goal of generating 100 giga watts of solar PV energy and 60 GW of wind energy by 2022, the sector could generate a million jobs in that time.
Four Ways Energy Access Can Propel Financial Inclusion by Jacob Winiecki on CGAP
East Africa is a hub of innovation in financial services. Mobile Money services expanded rapidly, and have been used to power the delivery of additional services, such as pay-as-you-go solar energy services. One example is our portfolio company, EGG-energy, who has provided pay-as-you go solar services to off-grid African households since 2014.
Today, the relationship is being to work in reverse, and the use of PAYG energy is propelling financial inclusion. Below are four examples of the trend:
- Solar operators are actively signing up their customers for mobile wallets
- Digitally-financed energy gives customers a tangible ongoing use case for mobile payments
- PAYGO solar providers are also addressing a key business challenge – agent liquidity
- PAYGO solar companies are providing off-grid, predominantly unbanked consumers with their first access to formal financial services
As the PAYGO solar sector continues to scale, businesses are likely to expand and deliver other essential goods and services to the developing world.
MIT Group Used Solar Energy to Make Salty Water Drinkable in Off-Grid Areas by Eleanor Goldberg on Huffington Post
About 21 percent of India’s communicable diseases are caused by unsafe water, according to the World Bank, and while not always toxic, 60% of India has brackish groundwater that is too salty for human consumption. While there are many technologies that can effectively remove salt from water, most are expensive and rely heavily on electricity. Because millions of Indian citizens live in off-grid villages, they are left with poor access to healthy drinking water. This problem inspired a group of engineers from MIT to invent a system that uses solar energy to bring clean drinking water to rural areas in India.