The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP)—a Clean Energy Ministerial initiative led by the U.S. Department of Energy—is partnering with ClimateWorks and CLASP to launch an innovative program that will support efforts to extend renewable energy to millions of people throughout the developing world who currently live without access to electricity. The program will provide off-grid renewable energy service providers and other market stakeholders with essential information about cutting-edge off-grid-compatible appliances to create new market and policy opportunities and reach a broader base of underserved customers.
Lack of information about off-grid appliances is a major obstacle to energy access. Backed by a network of industry and development organizations, and built upon a robust product testing framework, the program will create an easily accessible online clearinghouse of off-grid appliances. Information on performance, design and market availability will be particularly useful to companies that sell off-grid energy systems. These companies currently have no reliable way to identify and procure off-grid compatible consumer products such as fans, refrigerators, and televisions. By also producing information usable by appliance manufacturers, policymakers, and investors, this effort will help create a more competitive global off-grid appliance market, and make a deep and lasting impact in clean energy access and sustainable development.
“By filling critical gaps in market intelligence, the program will enable off-grid energy providers to deploy a new generation of high-quality, super-efficient appliances that, when combined with off-grid energy systems, meet a wider range of customer needs and achieve significant development outcomes,” said Caroline McGregor, who leads the Global LEAP initiative.
An estimated 1.2 billion people live without access to electricity, and another 1 billion have unreliable access. In India alone, up to 400 million people are un-electrified. These communities often use dirty, dangerous fuels like kerosene and diesel to meet their most basic energy needs. Efforts by development organizations and the private sector to deploy small-scale off-grid renewable energy systems have made great strides in providing “beyond the grid” households and businesses with basic energy services. This new program will help these efforts provide a wider variety of services to an even greater number of off-grid customers.
“Making clean energy widely available in the developing world is fundamental to global climate and development goals,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, Program Director of Energy Efficiency at ClimateWorks. “Off-grid appliances are a huge part of the puzzle. We need to accelerate markets for super-efficient appliances and distributed renewable energy, and this program will help build both of these vitally important global markets.”
Pairing high-quality, energy-efficient appliances with off-grid energy systems can reduce overall energy costs for the world’s poorest communities. Recent analysis found that pairing super-efficient appliances with off-grid solar reduced the price of energy service by up to 50%. While reducing costs, these appliances also provide a range of expanded energy services that enable significantly improved health, educational, and economic development outcomes for underserved households, businesses, and communities.
“High-quality, super-efficient appliances are essential to the future of clean energy access,” said Christine Egan, CLASP’s Executive Director & CEO. “Because it will enable smart decisions about off-grid appliances, we’re confident that this program will fundamentally improve how off-grid clean energy markets function.”