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, the results these have achieved and how these could help inform future programming.

A remote village in Nepal.
Credit: Practical Action / Edoardo Santangelo

To achieve our global goal of ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’, rapid progress is neededIn PPEO 2018, we consider what it takes to achieve inclusive energy access at scale by reviewing experiences across a range of energy access markets. We assess the processes that have been used to achieve energy access and how effective they have been regarding our two criteria: scale and inclusivity. For inclusivity, we consider in particular women and the poorest, most remote communities. For scale, while we focus predominantly on numbers of people reached, we are also interested in the pace and sustainability of interventions.

Scaling up inclusive energy access: 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 across clean cooking, decentralised electricity and grid extension (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.



PPEO 2018 summary report - Achieving Inclusive Energy Access at Scale

Briefing paper summarising key findings and recommendations from the Poor People's Energy Outlook (PPEO) 2018 report. In this edition of the PPEO, we explore six case study programmes from various...


Poor people’s energy outlook 2018 report

PPEO 2018 examines six case study programmes across the clean cooking, decentralized electricity and grid extension sectors, to explore how to reach energy access at scale in an inclusive way...



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Download the Full PPEO 2018 report in French

Download PPEO 2018 summary document in French

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Download the Full PPEO 2018 report in Spanish

Download PPEO 2018 summary document in Spanish



Key findings

Our research shows that:

  • Tackling key aspects of inclusivity head-on is critical to achieving universal energy access. Too often, large-scale programmes fail to adequately plan for inclusion. Addressing these shortcomings requires proactive and deliberate actions from the beginning; including sufficient finance, experienced staffing, and tailored processes.
  • Decentralizing key elements of decision-making to local levels can encourage inclusivity by raising issues beyond purely cost, to consider which communities would benefit and the selection of local-level implementing partners.
  • Addressing inclusivity should be a driver of success, not an afterthought or add-on. From the outset, programme metrics should reflect not just the number of connections, but aspects of remoteness, poverty and gender.
  • Addressing gender inequality is good for people and businesses. Some clean cooking and off-grid electricity programmes in particular have demonstrated the value of being gender-sensitive in boosting company bottom lines as well as having a greater impact on the ground.
  • Achieving universal access requires a meaningful and iterative assessment of the barriers to scale. This includes in supply, weak demand, blockages in finance and policy shortcomings. Critical to this is understanding the Total Energy Access services that rural communities actually require.
  • There remains a critical role for public finance, particularly in delivering energy access to the most marginalised. While market-driven approaches can bring dynamism and sustained growth to the sector, private-sector companies traditionally will not deliver where it is unprofitable, which means public finance as well as other incentives and regulations are needed.

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 the 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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