7 Oct 2016

October 2016: NGO of the Month

Power for all
Power for All is a global campaign to accelerate the deployment of decentralized renewable energy as the key to achieving universal energy access. It has campaign partners, including NGOs, social enterprises and energy access practitioners, located and operating around the world. Power for All has also launched country campaigns in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

Power for All envisions a future, built by the decentralized renewable energy sector, where everyone is empowered to enjoy the opportunities and improved quality of life that comes with access to reliable, affordable distributed renewable power. It is therefore, dedicated to transforming more than 1 billion lives through access to clean, affordable power and to leave no one behind in the fight for energy equality. Our goal is to accelerate the path to universal energy access through the rapid deployment of decentralized, clean electricity.

The motivation behind the campaign comes from the fact that over 1 billion people do not have access to reliable, affordable electricity and are forced to turn to polluting, hazardous, and expensive solutions like kerosene, charcoal and diesel in order to get basic energy services. Centralized power production, grid distribution, and long-distance transmission is not a cost-effective or timely solution for powering rural areas, where 85% of people without energy live. Distributed renewables—such as solar lanterns and home systems, micro hydro, mini-grids and small scale biomass and wind—provide a fast, cost-effective and sustainable approach to ending energy poverty, and the only way that we can meet development goals.

Current projects:
Power for All undertakes global advocacy and awareness work to profile the power of decentralized renewables to rapidly accelerate energy access, as well as their impact on a range of development needs—such as providing power for health services, education, clean water and agriculture. Power for all has also launched country campaigns in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe to mobilize the private sector, civil society, government and other key stakeholders behind faster, cleaner and more affordable energy access.

For example, Power for All has been working to support the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution announced by President Bai Koroma in May, which aims to enable 200,000 homes and businesses to access decentralized solar solutions by the end of 2017, and bring modern energy to all Sierra Leone citizens by 2025. Currently only 12% of the country’s population has access to power. In Nigeria and Zimbabwe, the campaign has also been actively bringing together organizations working
on energy access and undertaking a variety of activities to profile the impact of decentralized renewables.

Activities include hosting workshops with financiers, government officials and civil society organizations to build investment in the technology and strong policy and advocacy support, helping to establish National Renewable Energy Associations to provide a stronger voice for the sector, and raising awareness of the benefits of decentralized renewables within local communities through media and events.

At a global level the campaign—which now has over 100 members—has sought to highlight the huge opportunity cost that will be borne by those living in communities without power if we do not speed up access to energy, and profiled practical solutions. To do this, the campaign has built resources, such as papers, fact sheets and shareable images, profiled the issue with key decision-makers and in international media, and launched ‘Calls to Action’.

Our latest paper, Decentralized Renewable Energy: The Fast Track to Energy Access sets out three key ways that Multilateral Development Banks can support the sector, and help to #endenergypovertyfaster.

With 1.1 billion people without energy access, the size of the challenge is vast, and raising awareness of the impact of newer decentralized technologies
--and the ways that policy-makers, investors, and the energy sector can take strong action to support them--is in itself a big challenge. Although there is a growing understanding of the benefits these technologies are bringing to communities living in energy poverty, there is still a worrying tendency to stick with a ‘business as usual’ approach.

Without decentralized renewables it has been clearly recognized that we will not meet development goals. With them, we have an extraordinary opportunity to catalyze change. We urge all those working to address this issue, or those working in associated fields, to join the campaign to #endenergypovertyfaster

You can contact Power for All by emailing the Partnerships Manager, Joe Rafalowicz: Joe@powerforall.org. You can also find out more about their activities and how you can be involved via www.powerforall.org, Twitter: Power4All2025 and Facebook: PWR4ALL

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