Energy Poverty Challenge: The results!

This blog post outlines the results to our Energy Poverty Challenge and explains the viability of the five solutions we proposed.

In April, ONE CEO Michael Elliot launched our Energy Poverty Challenge, which polled our ONE members on energy solutions for the world’s poorest people. It’s an incredibly important issue, because currently, 7 out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity or modern energy sources, giving them an unfair disadvantage in life.

Since then, more than 340 of you have voted in our energy pollution poll, and more than 100 of you made comments and suggestions on how to provide energy to the poorest on Facebook and Twitter. And now, with country representatives meeting in Rio de Janeiro this week to discuss how they plan to tackle the energy poverty challenge, the results of the ONE poll on what you think are the most important ways to address the energy poverty challenge are in.

Here are the results, ordered from lowest to highest votes. A detailed explanation of the viability of these solutions are outlined below.

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In 5th place
More money from governments
International Energy Agency and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis estimates that achieving universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 could cost between $21 to 28 billion annually. Simply providing more money isn’t going to ensure the poorest receive modern energy access.

In 4th place
Legislation changes in poor countries to prioritize energy access
A supportive legislative environment that requires and supports business and utility providers in providing electricity and clean cookstoves to the poorest will be crucial to ensuring that the poor are not overlooked in the expansion of energy access.

In 3rd place
More skills training on how to install and deliver energy services for poor country citizens
Providing modern energy access to the poorest and building the technology and infrastructure to deliver this energy requires technical know-how. Skills training and education on the installation, operation and maintenance of these technologies will be crucial if the poorest are both going to get access to modern energy and be able to effectively use and maintain such energy technology in the long term.

In 2nd place
The expansion of private sector energy companies who specifically work to provide energy to the poorest
With governments having limited finance to support the scaling up of energy access and many social impact companies showing that there is a way to use the private sector to provide energy access to the poorest, you recognized the increasing role and importance of the private sector in increasing access to the poorest.

In 1st place
New energy solutions — like solar panel powered tools and technology
With other overwhelming majority of the votes you felt that the use of new technologies was going to be crucial in ensuring the poorest get access to modern energy. In comments you mentioned about the potential of solar panels, wind and even geothermal energy solutions in Africa. You thought that the use of new technologies to harness Africa’s renewable energy potential, but also deliver this energy more efficiently to isolated regions, was crucial.

ONE is now taking this information to leaders at Rio and asking them to commit to addressing the energy poverty challenge. With a high-level event on Sustainable Energy for All taking place later this week we hope governments will take this information on-board and make clear commits to address energy poverty in line with the suggestions above.

Thanks to all of you who voted and took part! We’ll let you know the outcome of the Rio discussions soon.

Photo at top: Ngong Hills Wind Project