Last year we helped over 100,000 people get access to sustainable energy services

Despite the availability of technical solutions, 1.3 billion people are still without any form of electricity and 3 billion people still cook over open fires.

Practical Action provides practical power: renewable, locally-sourced sustainable energy solutions which lift people out of poverty.

  • Energy enables people to work their way out of poverty.
  • Energy provides better access to education and other basic services.
  • Energy improves health and wellbeing, especially for women and children.

Practical Action is committed to Total Energy Access, because we know from our work on the ground that energy is a powerful solution to poverty.

Using technology to challenge poverty

Practical Action aims to increase poor people's access to energy, through improving the efficiency of stoves, and through small-scale, low-cost, off-grid electricity supply.

Micro-hydro power

Micro-hydro power is a renewable, indigenous and non-polluting resource for the small-scale generation of energy using falling water.

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Small-scale wind power

Converting wind energy into electricity is clean, renewable and sustainable. Practical Action has developed reliable and cost effective wind energy systems to help meet electrical energy needs.

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Smoke hoods

Sheet metal smoke hoods are cost effective and efficient, reducing indoor smoke levels by up to 80%.

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Biogas

Biogas from animal waste provides a free, sustainable source of power all year round, and a useful fertiliser for farmers

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Solar-powered water pumps

A solar-powered water pump that uses locally-sourced equipment can pump 30,000 clean litres of clean, safe water every day.

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Fireless cooker

The "fireless cooker" uses stored heat to cook food over a long period of time. A simple basket, insulated with banana leaves or old clothes, can reduce fuel use by 40%.

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Our experience

There is no “one size fits all” answer, which is why we don’t start with the technology, but with the people who use and benefit from it. Practical Action begins by talking to the people we are working with.

Find our more about the practical, sustainable technologies that people can use to improve their lives

Energy practice and learning

 

Energy policy

Practical Action believes that there does not have to be a trade-off between human development and the environment. Millions can be lifted out of poverty without ruining the planet with the help of clean sustainable energy.

Read more about our energy policy work

Our Poor people's energy briefing series offers critical input into the fast moving and dynamic energy sector from the perspective of what matters for poor people.

Poor people's energy briefings

Poor people's energy outlook

Practical Action has launched the Poor people’s energy outlook reports as a catalyst for a movement for change on energy access, and a source of information to support it.

The 2014 edition of the PPEO looks back at three years of analysis, to re-evaluate the key enabling role that energy plays in lifting people out of poverty. The report summarizes key lessons and evidence presented thus far and brings our learning up to date.

Poor people's energy outlook

Energy access on our blogs

Reflection on the Asia Clean Energy Forum ACEF2015

Spending a week in Manila at the Asia Clean Energy Forum was an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues and learn about what is going on in the energy access space in this key region of the world. What I learned there was both inspiring and disappointing however. Check out my thoughts on...
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RECAP: The Energy-Agriculture Nexus

This is a guest post from WRI's Lily Odarno about the joint Energy Engagement Series Practical Action hosts with WRI each month in Washington, DC. This event is meant to be a discussion that brings together leaders in the energy access  space. This summary is from an event we held in May disc...
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European Development Days: Action for an ambitious energy SDG

We’ve got just three months until world leaders agree a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years …goals that will affect the lives of millions of people. There are proposed goals to:

  • eradicate extreme poverty
  • eliminate avoidable child death a...
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Controversial report on financing energy access from the UNSE4ALL

I’m writing this blog while sitting in the very impressive surrounds of the UN General Assembly Hall in New York on the 3rd day of this year’s UN Sustainable Energy for All (UNSE4ALL) annual forum. It’s great to see so many people gathered in one place to discuss the goals of universal...
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More people grid-connected, but is that energy access?

Monday (18th May) saw the first release of the summary of the World Bank’s new report on Progress Toward Sustainable Energy - Global Tracking Framework 2015 at the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York. The report measures how the world is progressing toward Sustainable Energ...
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Indoor air pollution

Nearly two million people die each year as a result of inhaling lethal smoke from kitchen stoves and fires.

But there are solutions - improved cooking stoves and simple smoke hoods can reduce indoor smoke levels by up to 80%.

Smoke - indoor air pollution

Decentralised energy

Most rural people cannot access large-scale power grids, and their only alternative is small stand-alone energy schemes. We develop appropriate options, including small-scale solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass and hydro schemes

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MEGA Malawi

The Mulanje Electricity Generation Authority micro-hydro project is a sustainable and ambitious social enterprise - aiming to tackle the dual challenges of sustainability and scale.

Read more about the MEGA micro-hydro project

Technical information

Our technical information service has a wide range of downloadable resources on all aspects of energy access, free to download.

Practical Answers energy technical briefs

Moving Energy Initiative

Practical Action Consulting is working with GVEP, Chatham House, UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council on the Moving Energy Initiative (MEI), an innovative project that seeks to meet the energy needs of displaced people in a safe, sustainable manner, developing solutions for heating/cooling, cooking, lighting, electrification and water and sanitation.

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SE4ALL Forum 2015

Sustainable Energy For All is a global UN initiative to mobilise action on universal energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The SE4ALL Forum brings together a huge number of stakeholders to discuss how the objectives of the initiative can be progressed.

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