Energy for all – part 2

January 21st, 2011

This concept of Total Energy came out of another successful initiative in 2010 – the Poor People’s Energy Outlook report. Amongst other things the report suggests minimum international standards for energy access and introduces a new energy index. It has been incredibly well received and we have had expressions of interest for further discussion from UNIDO, the UN Foundation, DFID and GTZ to name but a few. The report has been launched also in a number of our country programmes.

We were approached in the UK by German Company Bosch Siemens Household Appliances (manufacturers of cookers and fridges) to work on the design of smoke hoods, which has led to the development of a smoke hood design tool.

In Zimbabwe we’ve developed relationships with a manufacturer of prepay electricity meters. They’ve donated meters to a microhydro scheme in Zimbabwe to help communities manage the finances of their system more effectively.

Finally, in Europe we’re working on a project with other European NGOs to raise awareness of energy access amongst the European public and European Parliament MEPs. This project is in collaboration with NGOs from Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Spain and has got off to an extremely good start, with a group of MEPs from the European Parliament starting a review process. This will result in a resolution on energy access being put before the European Parliament later this year. On the back of this, we had a productive meeting with Andris Piebalgs, the EC Development Commissioner  – the man in charge of the EC’s entire aid budget.  Commissioner Piebalgs, formerly the EC’s Energy Commissioner, has a very good grasp of the sector, and is a real advocate for ending energy poverty in the developing world. We had a very productive exchange and hope to be able to collaborate with him further in the future.

However much I grumble about the price of petrol, electricity and gas going up this winter (and believe me I do grumble), I can’t help feeling the real energy crisis that we have to tackle is here, amongst the half of humanity still foraging for kindling for the cooking fire or straining to see at night from the light of a spluttering candle. It’s certainly a crisis that Practical Action is committed to continuing to fight and to draw to the world’s attention.

Happy New Year!

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