Energy Poverty and Energy Access

Embark_Summay_AEnergy Poverty = heating and cooking with traditional fuels — as dung, wood, poorly made charcoal and other biomass—or lacking even small amounts of electricity.Energy poverty afflicts 2.7 billion people using traditional fuels and 1.4 billion people without electricity.  It keeps people trapped in poverty and makes them physically ill.  Incredibly, the number of households living in energy poverty is expected to grow, not shrink by 2030.

These people live in about 500,000,000 households in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, India and China. Most are well beyond the reach of the electric utilities and fuel suppliers serving cities and nearby areas.

The bulk of these households already spend enough on dirty dangerous fuels, batteries and appliance charging to readily afford cleaner, more modern and more efficient fuels and devices if only  they had access to energy delivery enterprises who provide these fuels, electricity and devices.

Such energy delivery enterprises can be small or large.  They can be public sector, private sector, non-governmental organizations or combinations of all of these.  The critical element is not the form of the enterprise but its commitment to delivering life-expanding energy to un-served households as well as the communities and micro-businesses within the same areas.  This process is called energy access.

Energy Access = the process of “connecting the dots” needed for local energy enterprises to deliver affordable, reliable customer alternatives to dirty, dangerous fuels and devices.

Embark uses five categories – Information, Capacity Building, Products, Customer Finance and Enterprise Finance — as the major “dots”  needing to be connected for energy entrepreneurs to serve thousands of customers.  Embark is driven by a core question:

What does the entrepreneur need to know and need to do in order to launch, operate sustainably and grow an energy enterprise?

With 75 years’ experience in energy access projects, enterprises, programs and activities, Embark understands the set of factors that must converge successfully for an enterprise to succeed and for energy access to occur.   These involve the relationship between the Customer and the Delivery Enterprise and the relationship of both the Customer and the Delivery Enterprise with the Enabling Environment.  It also involves those unique factors or “local conditions”.

But the education, preparation and empowerment of energy entrepreneurs is more than a set of factors — it is a process that has guided the development of Embark’s Products & Services.