Accelerating Access to Energy
SUMMARY: Since 2000, Shell Foundation has worked with over 100 organisations and deployed $74 million to develop disruptive “decentralised” technologies and business solutions to provide safe, affordable and reliable power to people in under-served areas. This work has supported breakthrough innovators in new markets such as affordable solar power, clean cooking solutions, renewable power from agricultural waste and pay-as-you-go energy.
The energy deficit forms a formidable barrier to inclusive growth and poverty reduction and shows limited signs of abating. Nearly two billion people lack access to reliable and affordable modern energy – severely constraining their health, education and earning potential. Of this group, 60% live entirely without electricity for cooking, lighting and heating at home, for community services, or for improving the productivity of small businesses and farms. Researchers using World Bank data estimate that Africa misses out on 2-4% a year in GDP growth due to power shortages. Without major changes to the way people access and use energy almost one billion people will still be without electricity by 2030.
Our portfolio includes several “social enterprise” pioneers who now deliver socio-economic, health and environmental benefits on a global and regional scale. These include leading social enterprises such as d.light, Envirofit and M-KOPA. Collectively they have improved over 16 million livelihoods, saved 3m tonnes carbon and leveraged more than $110m from social and commercial investors into modern energy solutions for low-income communities.
The report outlines the lessons learned from this work. We detail the significant turning points in our strategy, identify six barriers that continue to prevent the growth and replication of promising solutions, and examine emerging opportunities to overcome these.