Achieving universal energy access

What will it take to achieve universal energy access? This week’s Weekly Review articles cover advice for entrepreneurs working on these types of projects and alternative funding options.

Can Technology End Poverty?” by Susan Davis on Harvard Business Review
Are you a skeptic or a believer that technology will impact the lives of underserved citizens around the world? We think it already has and will continue to do so. At ID, the idea that technology is a poverty reduction tool is the cornerstone of our investment thesis and is much more than just hype. Check out Davis’ article, where she provides advice for social entrepreneurs and evidence of the impact to refute what some skeptics out there might think.

Off grid clean energy sector demands social bankability, $500 million from World Bank” by Justin Guay on Huffington Post
What role can public funding play in scaling off grid clean energy access? The technology is there, but Justin Guay discusses the funding gap that may be keeping these types of solutions from realizing their full potential. Guay says that “nimble decentralized investments (the kind that serve the poor)” could be the most effective in scaling off grid clean energy. Read the article to learn more about Guay’s argument for “social bankability.”

Selling Solar Power in India’s Slums” by Mark Bergen
While many associate poverty in emerging markets with rural areas, the fact is that urban slums often contribute significantly to the poverty headcount. Recent data published by the Indian government estimates that 64 million people are living in urban slums in India. This number is on the rise, expected to reach 104 million by 2017 and the already over-extended grid won’t be able to keep up. There are a number of companies working to solve this market failure:  look out for a mention of our portfolio company Simpa Networks.


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