Power for All logoPower for All is a global campaign of private and civil society organisations working to accelerate the deployment of decentralised renewable energy (DRE) solutions as the fastest, cleanest, and most cost-effective way to achieving universal energy access before 2030.

community lit by solar power
Increased action is needed to achieve universal
energy access before 2030

The energy access imperative

Power is fundamental to human and economic development. While the United Nations and a number of governments have identified universal energy access as an imperative, the current prospects seem dim: estimates anticipate it will take $700 billion and a quarter century to achieve. The financial costs are daunting and the opportunity costs are unacceptable.

Power for All outlines a path to universal energy access in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of current estimates, by leveraging consumer choice, free markets, and private enterprise to unlock demand for decentralized renewable energy services.

The power of energy

There is a faster path to universal energy access: market-based distributed solutions that directly engage the energy impoverished in creating their own power and controlling their own destinies. Renewable, distributed and democratized energy can leapfrog traditional grid-centric approaches and deliver energy access in half the time and at a fraction of the cost. Working in Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, as well as at the global level, Power for All advances renewable, decentralized electrification solutions as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access.

graph showing the cost of traditional energy supply vs solar electric lighting
The estimated costs of achieving universal energy access

Energy access opportunity cost 

What human development opportunities are missed, lost, or go unfulfilled as a result of energy poverty? Under business as usual, and in the time it takes for affordable and sustainable energy to reach them, children go uneducated, health clinics function without lighting and refrigeration, and schools miss out on essential modern ICT services.

The Energy Access Opportunity Cost is a concept set forth by Power for All to assess the foregone development and rights benefits that accrue in the wait time for energy access; providing decision makers with indications of what increased benefits and opportunities exist for their constituencies when access is delivered more quickly than current models allow. The idea is outlined in the Decentralized Renewable Energy: The Fast Track to Universal Energy Access.  

Accelerating universal energy access

The world is facing a unique moment in its history to deliver universal energy access, and all sectors of society have a role to play. Power for All is a call to action plan for policymakers, NGOs, entrepreneurs, capital providers and other stakeholders engaged in driving universal energy access. Power for All:

  • Urges governments facing energy access challenges to institute policies that will facilitate the market for renewable, distributed energy solutions—such as integrating DRE targets into national electrification plans and reducing tariff barriers on renewable equipment (such as duties and value-added taxes that will help deliver high-quality energy to constituents;
  • Encourages investors, multi-lateral agencies, banks and global finance initiatives to mobilize capital and earmark funds specifically for dencentralized renewable energy solutions, such as financing for manufacturing, consumer payments and last-mile distribution;
  • Advises development agencies, foundations and nongovernmental organizations seeking to accelerate universal energy access to direct grants toward sustainable market-building initiatives (including support for consumer education and marketing) that directly engage the impoverished in creating their own energy and controlling their own destinies;
  • Supports wholeheartedly the broader distributed renewable energy sector dedicated to high-quality, affordable, clean, safe universal energy access; and,
  • Encourages energy consumers around the world to expand the global application of decentralized renewable energy sources—ranging from zero-net energy buildings to solar home systems—and help grow legitimacy for the kinds of solutions that will deliver universal energy access to the energy impoverished, and a more democratic future of energy.

Contact us or visit Power for All to learn how you can get involved to ramp up action on delivering universal energy access before 2030.

Momentum around decentralised energy is gathering; check out how the Energy Africa campaign, a DFID-supported initiative dedicated to facilitating the growth of off-grid solar markets in sub-Saharan Africa, complements Power for All's energy access imperative; as well as the Off-Grid Solar project, undertaken by Practical Action in partnership with GOGLA, ODI and SolarAid, which links to Power for All's work on market activation for household solar products.

Power for All publications


Decentralized Renewables: The Fast Track to Universal Energy Access

Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are uniquely positioned, and publicly committed, to ending energy poverty. However, MDBs’ common approach to energy access often overlooks the particular...


Making Climate Change Mitigation More Meaningful

The global energy system is the single largest contributor to climate change, and reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from energy is of paramount global importance to avoid...


Power for All press release

Power for All is a global education and advocacy initiative that joins leading private sector and civil society practitioners and implementers to advance renewable, decentralized solutions as the...


Power for All: The Energy Access Imperative

Today, nearly one-third of the global population is without access to reliable power. While the United Nations has prioritized delivering sustainable energy for all, current prospects seem dim:...


Power for All blogs

Big money for energy in Africa must be spent on small producers

A recent US$10bn pledge by developed countries to boost renewable-energy expansion in Africa is good news, but the funds must be spent wisely in order to deliver empowerment rather than just power...

To deliver on climate and development we need a new energy approach

At COP21 in Paris, negotiators and key decision-makers must embrace change and become friends with the idea that "small is beautiful" through decentralized energy services...

The Revolution Will Not Be Centralized

At the start of COP21, the most important energy-related event this century, we have an opportunity to launch a revolution in the way we power the world for future generations, and we must seize it...

2 Billion Underserved Customers Are Waiting for Energy Services

The world has a problem. According to the World Bank, 1.1 billion people lack access to any form of modern energy service, and more than double that number lack access to adequate, reliable, affordable, and safe energy services...

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