A Survey of Energy Access Solutions

Laurence Chandy,
Laurence Chandy Former Brookings Expert, Director of Data, Research and Policy - UNICEF
Kemal Derviş, and
Kemal Dervis
Kemal Derviş Vice President and Director

Steven Rocker
Steven Rocker Project Coordinator and Research Assistant

February 1, 2013

The participants in the Brookings Blum Roundtable
noted that the prospects for expanding access to clean
energy among the world’s poor are improving rapidly as
a result of new technologies available at affordable costs. Here
we profile six innovative energy access products and services
identified in the International Finance Corporation’s 2012
report From Gap to Opportunity: Business Models for Scaling
Up Energy Access. The IFC estimates that the propagation of
these solutions could annually prevent 800,000 premature
deaths related to indoor air pollution and 300 million metric
tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Improved cookstoves: Thanks to sustained engagement
    from business, researchers and governments, there now
    exists a range of competitively priced and customer-driven
    well-designed cookstoves that achieve improved efficiency
    (with between 30 and 50 percent savings in fuel) and
    reduced emissions. Competitors include both local small
    and medium-sized enterprises, such as the Ghana-based
    Toyola Energy, and international players, such as U.S.-based
    Envirofit. Commercial costs for improved cookstoves now
    start at as little as $5, or 40 cents per month over the life
    cycle of the product.

  • Solar and rechargeable lanterns: Solar and rechargeable
    lanterns, which combine small photovoltaic panels, nondisposable batteries and an LED lightbulb, are recording
    large decreases in price thanks to economies of scale. With
    prices as low as $10, these products are gaining popularity
    with both the rural poor and urban slum dwellers as a
    cost-effective and durable alternative to less safe and clean
    kerosene lamps. Many of these lanterns are now being fitted
    to allow for mobile phone charging, such as those produced
    by the India-based for-profit social enterprise d.light, whose
    products have reached more than 10 million people.

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