In early September, the world’s largest gathering of energy decision-makers and practitioners will take place in Abu Dhabi. Organised by the World Energy Council every three years, the World Energy Congress is apparently the longest-running energy event in the world covering all aspects of the energy sector. Amongst the 10,000 participants and 250 speakers will be Practical Action’s Chief Executive, Paul Smith Lomas. Paul will be speaking on a panel on September 11 which focuses on accelerating action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through innovative approaches.
The SDGs were agreed by governments in 2015 to reduce global poverty by 2030. As Paul will point out, we are not on track to meet SDG7, which aims to provide universal energy access by 2030. Currently, there are 3 billion people lacking access to clean cooking options and 840 million people do not have any electricity. At Practical Action, we are working hard to come up with ingenious solutions to tackle this challenge, focusing in particular on clean, renewable energy solutions for the ‘Last Mile’, i.e. those that live in remote areas, have the lowest incomes and/or are most vulnerable.
For example, in our Renewable Energy for Refugees project, we are working in partnership with UNHCR and supported by the IKEA Foundation, using market-based approaches to help refugees and their host communities access finance, training, technology and expertise to facilitate clean energy solutions. In Rwanda, we are operating in 3 refugee camps and one of the companies involved in supplying solar systems is BBoxx, whose CEO Mansoor Hamayun will also be on the panel. Other organisations represented on the panel include Acacia Innovations, Barefoot College, Fujitsu, Mubadala Investment Company and UNIDO, and we look forward to interesting discussions.
Last time Paul was at an event in Abu Dhabi was in 2017, when we won the prestigious Zayed Prize for Future Energy for our contributions to reducing energy poverty and promoting sustainability. Paul will also take this opportunity to catch up with the Zayed team and discuss how we have used the Zayed prize money to support our energy work across the globe.