Energy poverty related issues

Almost one third of the world population is using traditional biomass for cooking and have only limited access to modern energy services. Especially in rural areas and urban settlements that are not connected to the grid, people spend up to half of their income for energy purposes, like kerosene for lighting or diesel for generators.

On the other hand, it's widely accepted that access to clean and affordable energy is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development and reducing poverty.

Many of the highlighted projects in our PREP brochures aim to improve access to energy for people with low income. One brochure deals with this issue in particular.

Sustainable Energy for Poverty Reduction

This brochure brings together examples of good practice of sustainable energy use for alleviating poverty. One option is the use of solar PV to run a small business for mobile phone charging, another possibility is the productive use of water irrigation run by biodiesel. A programme on solar thermal energy aims to increase the awareness of simple renewable energy solutions for poor people. The projects illustrated are from Namibia, Brazil, the Philippines and India.

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Microfinance and Renewable Energy

Microfinance systems aim to provide access to basic financial services for poor people that are not considered creditworthy. Investing in sustainable energy systems (for example using revolving funds) not only addresses basic needs but also promotes small enterprises and production. The projects illustrated are from Peru, South Africa, China and Nepal.

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Renewable energy in the Food Supply Chain

There are several options for using renewable energy for food processing, cooking and baking. In particular for poor people, the switch from using traditional biomass to cleaner or more efficient renewable energies has advantages.

The examples given in this brochure cover the use of electricity from biomass for rice processing in Nicaragua, sustainable cooking with biogas in Nigeria and more efficient use of biomass in fuel-efficient stoves in Cambodia. Solar energy can be used in various ways, e.g. for solar dryers in Pakistan or solar cookers in Kenya. The SEPS-funded project on ‘Food processing and conservation through appropriate solar energy technology' gives further examples and showcases the expertise in this area.

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More examples can be found in our brochures on Water and Energy, Energy in Schools and Resource Efficient Construction (see Downloads to the right).

Most of the projects funded via SEPS are also concerned with improving access to energy for people with low income. SEPS Projects