Yesterday’s launch of the Poor People’s Energy Outlook 2012 began with Stephen O’Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, briefly describing his journey to Ghana. He explained that when the sun went down, “everything was in the dark”.
His objective is clear; we need to ‘help the poor in developing countries work their way out of poverty’. What Practical Action’s report will do is deepen our understanding of how energy access can do this. His statement that the UK government will be held accountable if progression does not materialise, should be sufficient in believing this campaign will make things happen.
When Mr. O’Brien left, Grace Mukasa, East Africa Regional Director for Practical Action, detailed the importance of energy access. This proved to me just how important some of the projects Philips Lighting have been involved in which have brought lighting to otherwise ‘dark’ places. The effect this has on the community and enterprise and profound.
Simon Trace, CEO of Practical Action, then explained that the definitions and models we have today regarding energy access are not good enough and far from realistic. And this is also what the report hopes to achieve.
‘When there’s a will there’s a way’.
Finally, the ongoing Malawi project was illustrated, which is examining exactly how we can supply an energy access eco system at national level and help move from a project approach to a system basis. And this is where sustainability is really achieved. But first, we need to fully understand a countries policies & regulations, the flows of finance and the gaps and opportunities. From there we can progress.