Energy access

Access to energy has the power to transform lives, yet one billion people still live without electricity and over 4 million people die every year as a result of cooking over open fires. A reliable electricity supply allows families living in poverty to become financially self-sufficient and improve their health, education and wellbeing.

Our goal is to assist delivery of sustainable energy access for poor people in developing countries. Our expertise in this area includes :

  • Off-grid renewable energy

    Our work in energy focuses on giving rural communities a chance to access renewable energy. We provide technical advice and inspire people to facilitate an off-grid renewable energy system in their community. At both national and international levels, we help develop policies, planning methods and training to build these projects from the ground up.

    We use a range of technologies such as mini-grids and solar, wind, and hydro power systems, so that we can work in the poorest and most rural areas. In order to develop economically viable businesses, we help communities to engage with the private sector so that everyone has continued access to the services they need.

    Our flagship publication Poor People’s Energy Outlook is a key tool to help us engage with people about how to improve the lives and livelihoods of those needing access to energy. Our collaboration with the policy team helps us to grow and strengthen both our partnerships and impact.

  • Energy for social and economic use

    Our work on the social and productive use of energy at community, national and global levels contributes to many different aspects of the issues we face. We use learning from our work on the ground to facilitate partnerships between those we work with such as the government and the private sector. We seek to influence policies so that investments in energy access can benefit both energy providers and users, especially women.

  • Access to clean cooking fuels

    A key area of our work in energy access is to find alternative fuels for clean cooking. Appropriate technologies such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), improved stoves and bio-fuels are essential as they are more fuel efficient than wood and charcoal fire, therefore reducing monthly fuel costs. Making such fuels financially viable is a central part of our policy work to ensure that our projects are sustainable.

    Our energy work is integrated with all our work, especially around agriculture and water and sanitation. We work towards approaches which can bring about widespread change with a special focus on women entrepreneurs.

The Energy Access Finance Gap: The case for action

Decentralised energy systems are attracting funding from a range of sources, but a large funding gap still remains. Development finance in the energy sector is still overwhelmingly directed towards extending the grid. Practical Action has long experience and a strong track record in energy financing to inform planners, donors, and other financiers about the mix of technologies and the type of funding and support that are needed to meet the needs of those who lack energy today.

Find out more

Our flagship energy access project

Moving Energy Initiative

Practical Action Consulting is working 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.

Read more

See more of our work on energy access

Contact us


Telephone: +44 (0) 1926 634403

fax: +44 (0) 1926 634405



Practical Action Consulting
The Schumacher Centre
Bourton on Dunsmore
CV23 9QZ
United Kingdom


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