New Energy Nexus (NEX)

25×25: Ending Energy Poverty Faster Highly Ranked

Lead Organization

New Energy Nexus (NEX)

Oakland, California, United States

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Project Summary

Nearly a billion people remain trapped in energy poverty and must survive without access to electricity, relying instead on kerosene, diesel and other fossil fuels. Energy poverty marginalizes those affected, limiting their active role in society and their potential for study, work, and other pursuits. A brighter future is possible. Decentralized renewable energy (DRE), including mini-grids and home solar systems, directly engage energy impoverished individuals in creating their own power. From Bangladesh to Zimbabwe, energy poor consumers have proven by the millions that they can—and will—opt for DRE solutions when given the choice and with the right political and financial support in place. Our solution is to rapidly develop the ecosystem that enables this choice. By engaging governments, donors and the private sector, and leveraging consumer choice, 25x25 will create vibrant markets that can deliver universal energy access in a fraction of the time predicted, costing less than traditional approaches.

Problem Statement

Access to electricity is one of the most important factors in raising people in developing nations out of poverty and enabling them to create opportunities for themselves. Access to electricity means that individuals can join in activities that drive development, such as study and work before sunrise or after sunset, use of cell phones, operating businesses and/or accessing the Internet. Yet nearly a billion people across the globe do not have access to electricity and as a result cannot access the productivity, health, safety, well-being and other benefits that often come with reliable electricity. Approximately 85% of the energy impoverished live in rural areas and often must go to extremes to get power. These extremes include walking hours to battery charging centers, putting family health at risk with toxic fumes from kerosene lighting, and damaging the climate with diesel generators.Despite SDG 7, energy poverty remains one of the most intractable problems today largely because the majority of donors, investors and governments are still following business-as-usual approaches. Costly, centralized power production and long-distance transmission from loss-making utilities in developing countries has failed--and will continue to fail--to deliver universal access. The way to end energy poverty is to transform legacy frameworks for delivering power; build new energy access ecosystems; and educate and engage consumers, investors, donors, energy producers, policy makers, media and consumers in creating sustainable energy markets that incorporate less costly DRE into national energy systems.

Solution Overview

Technical DRE solutions exist and donors and private sector financiers want to invest in them. Our solution will overcome the policy, perception and market barriers that prevent the scale-up of DRE solutions in 25 target “tipping point” countries that are positioned to rapidly grow clean energy solutions. The 25x25 Collaborative will (1) challenge the energy-as-usual mindset—and related policy framework—that enables the slow pace of clean energy access; (2) position DRE as a credible, legitimate component of the energy sector; (3) build confidence in policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs, civil society and consumers; and, (4) create political will and market momentum.During the 5-year grant period, 25x25 will establish ‘in-country’ DRE hubs in 25 participating countries. These DRE hubs will: convene key stakeholder task-forces in each country; establish or further professionalize energy access trade associations; help reform tariff structures; engage in DRE demand creation and awareness-raising among consumers; train and build capacity for government, banks and media; and create facilities that unlock affordable local DRE financing. The ultimate beneficiaries of 25x25’s solution will be individuals who gain access to affordable, clean and reliable power, enabling them to transform their lives. Beneficiaries will also include governments and the wider population, who will benefit from a growing economy, creation of new jobs and opportunities for growth. In the longer term, the work of 25x25 will transform the energy sector in 25 countries, with the ultimate goal of achieving 100% electrification, and transforming millions of the energy poor into millions of energy-rich.

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Project Funders

  • UK Department for International Development 2015 - 2018
  • Distributed Power Fund 2017 - Ongoing
  • Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) (USAID, DFID, Shell Foundation) 2017 - Ongoing

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