The 2018 edition of the Poor People’s Energy Outlook (PPEO) considers how access to energy can be accelerated to achieve both the scale required to meet our global 2030 goals, and the inclusivity required to leave no-one behind. The report looks at case studies from clean cooking, decentralised electricity and grid-extension programmes to explore processes that have been tried and the results these have achieved.

Rural woman tends to her goats, electricity transmission lines run overhead.
Credit: Practical Action / Edoardo Santangelo

To achieve our global goal of ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’, rapid progress is needed; with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies still posing the greatest challenge. In PPEO 2016 we demonstrated how planning systems need to change to more accurately reflect the priorities of energy-poor communities, and to deliver against these priorities quickly and cost-effectively. We built on these findings in PPEO 2017 to show that a shift from business-as-usual approaches at the national level is required in terms of the overall technology mix and allocation of finance. We also suggested market activation approaches that can shift energy access markets onto a new trajectory for growth.

Scaling up inclusive energy access

In PPEO 2018, we review experiences across a range of energy access markets to assess the processes that have been used to achieve access, and how effective they have been regarding our two criteria: scale and inclusivity. A gender lens is used throughout, as we understand that men and women have differing energy access needs and priorities and that initiatives rarely have a gender-neutral impact. We also consider other key aspects of inclusivity including wealth differentials and geographical remoteness.

Our approach: considering levers of change

The processes used in each programme can be categorised as targeting supply, demand, policy and finance. We focus on six in-depth case studies (scroll down for details) looking at the health of the energy access ecosystem before and after the intervention, the levers that were used to achieve change, and its outcomes in terms of scale and inclusivity. We also bring in a range of other current experiences to draw lessons even where programmes are still on-going. Our research is based on data collection, reviews of evidence, and in-depth first-hand investigations with key stakeholders - from national policy makers to community members.

This report is the third in a suite of three PPEOs; it is preceded by the PPEO 2016 which explores energy access planning from the bottom up, and PPEO 2017 which considers how best to finance national integrated energy access plans. We will be launching the PPEO 2018 in the Autumn, but in the meantime check out these related publications below.

Case studies 

  • Clean cooking
  • Decentralised electricity
  • Grid-based electricity systems
  • Biomass cookstoves, Ghana +

    The clean cookstoves programme in Ghana focuses on the manufacture and commercialisation of clean cook stoves. Initially produced by EnterpriseWorks/VITA, there are now three companies in the market, all selling similar products. For all companies, the production process is carried out by large networks of artisans, and hundreds of retailers distribute the stoves to households. Our analysis of the programme covers the period 2001 to 2008.
  • Biogas cooking programme, Kenya +

    The Kenya National Domestic Biogas Programme (KENDBIP) which later transformed to the Kenya Biogas Programme (KBP) is a component of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP), funded by the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS) under the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The unique approach of the program is the private sector development methodology it adopted. ABPP aims to achieve scale and sustainability of the biogas market through the development of a commercial, market oriented sector in Kenya; assuming that with sufficient critical mass, the market will be able to sustain itself and donor subsides will no longer be required. Our analysis of the programme covers the period 2010 to 2017.
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  • Solar Home Systems (SHS), South Africa +

    As part of South Africa's National Electrification Programme initiated in 1994, private companies are granted the right to establish off-grid energy utilities in designated concession areas in four states. This initiative was started after government acknowledged the high costs involved in extending the grid to rural areas far away from the existing network - typically, this includes areas of low household density, with low electricity consumption and difficult terrain. Concessionaires provide Solar Home Systems through an Energy Services Company (ESCo) model, charging householders a monthly service fee. The programme is ongoing.
  • Micro-hydro, Nepal +

    The Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) was a joint initiative of the Government of Nepal, UNDP and the World Bank which operated from 16 August 1996 to 31 March 2011. The intervention adopted a strong holistic approach of development for the promotion of rural energy technology; mainly community-managed micro-hydro systems. The electricity generated was primarily used for household lighting (displacing kerosene), with productive uses also promoted. The programme was funded principally by UNDP and the World Bank.
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  • Grid extension, Peru +

    The objective of Peru's Rural Electrification Project was to increase access to efficient and sustainable electricity services, focusing on the Peruvian population living in rural areas. The project introduced a 'bottom-up' approach for rural electrification, with the process being driven by projects proposed and developed by service providers who took responsibility for construction, financing and operation. The intervention started in 2016 and was completed in July 2017.
  • Grid extension, India +

    In 2005 the Government of India launched 'Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana' (RGGVY), a nationwide grid extension programme targeting rural electrification. The programme aimed to provide electricity access to all households within five years, as part of the National Common Minimum Programme of the coalition government formed after the 2004 election.
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