Energy is vital to escape poverty. It can save time and improve health at home; help people earn a living and work their way out of poverty; and power community services, from schools and clinics to street lighting and libraries. However, right now, a third of the world’s population has no access to modern energy services. ‘Business as usual’ projections predict that the situation will be the same in 20 years’ time.

By 2030:

  • 900 million people will not have access to electricity
  • 3 billion people will still cook with traditional fuels
  • More than 30 million people will have died due to smoke-related diseases
  • Many hundreds of millions will be confined to poverty due to lack of energy access

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. This movement for change has as its focus the United Nation’s goal of universal energy access by 2030.

Total Energy Access

Total Energy Access is Practical Action's approach to achieving energy for all. It requires understanding who has access to energy across households, businesses and in the community, and how that energy is used.

Total Energy Access - infographic / poster

Read the reports

Poor people's energy outlook 2014

There remains an urgent need to focus on what it will really take to deliver access to the 1.3 billion people still lacking access to modern energy services. The 2014 edition of the PPEO re-evaluates the key enabling role that energy plays in lifting people out of poverty, summarises key lessons ...

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Poor people's energy outlook 2013

The Poor people’s energy outlook (PPEO) 2013 focuses on the contribution that improved energy access can make to vital community services such as health, education and infrastructure services including water and street lighting.

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Poor people's energy outlook 2012

People living without energy are denied the chance to work their way out of poverty. This truth lies at the heart of the 2012 report, 'Energy for earning a living', which analyses the different types of energy services that poor people need to earn a living.

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Poor people's energy outlook 2010

The first PPEO presents the perspective of those living in energy poverty and those for whom energy access has been life changing.

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Related information

Poor people's energy outlook 2014

The 2014 edition of the PPEO looks back at three years of analysis and innovative approaches to defining energy access and addressing energy poverty.

Perspectives énergétiques des populations pauvres 2014

L’édition 2014 de Perspectives énergétiques des populations pauvres (PEPP 2014) revient sur les trois années d'analyses et d'approches innovantes pour définir l’accès à l’énergie et s’adresser à la problématique de la pauvreté énergétique, présentées dans les éditions précédentes. Elle réaffirme l'importance jouée par l'énergie pour faire sortir les personnes de la pauvreté et la nécessité de se concentrer sur les efforts visant à stimuler le secteur naissant de l'énergie décentralisée, plutôt que de permettre au secteur d’énergie classique- déjà bien établi et bien financé, et focalisé sur l’électricité en réseau- de continuer à dominer les efforts visant à élargir l'accès de l'énergie.

Poor people's energy outlook 2014 (Arabic)

Energy Access Ecosystems

The Energy Access Ecosystems approach can be used to measure and understand the ‘health’ of a specific country’s energy system. Explore our interactive graphic to see how all the parts of an ecosystem fit together.

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Energy and Earning a Living

The Energy and Earning a Living model highlights the key steps and additional support that poor people may need to improve their incomes through modern energy access. Explore the diagram and click for more information.

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World Cup Poster

A printable poster of the World Cup teams with facts about the greenest world cup ever.


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

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Poor people's energy briefing series

Practical Action's 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. The series complements Practical Action's flagship Poor People’s Energy Outlook,  which ...

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