Smart Power for Rural Development
Electrifying rural villages in India to spur economic growth.
Around the world, 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity. In India alone, more than 290 million people live without even basic lighting, hindering the potential for economic growth.
Since 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation has been working to address energy poverty through a model that provides electricity through mini-grids for lighting and business use. By securing telecom and other explosive sectors with significant energy needs as anchor tenants and contractually guaranteed customers, we are working to make it profitable for smaller-scale energy-services companies (ESCOs) to bring electricity to rural parts of the developing world.
- Project development support to assist ESCOs in structuring their engagement in terms of financing, business modeling, site and cluster selection, procurement, training, and so on.
- Business development and contracting to facilitate agreements with telecom tower companies, ESCOs, investors, and technology and equipment providers.
- Load development & community engagement to ensure strong local buy-in, economic development, and sustained demand for power.
- Policy and regulatory engagement to align incentives between government, investors, and ESCOs and reduce risk in the long-term by supporting the creation of viable grid-interactive models.
This initial plan will impact more than 1 million lives, with an ultimate goal of establishing self-sustaining momentum in the market for a new rural electrification model. Ultimately, we will use the experience and insights from India to explore how to support greater economic development by scaling up a viable model for rural electrification in other geographies in Africa and Asia, and to contribute to a more dynamic global dialogue on addressing energy poverty.
How can we bring clean electricity to the 1.3 billion people without it?
Just as agricultural productivity held the key to progress in the 20th century, we know that in the 21st…, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, 2005 – 2017 President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania
The issue of electricity access is not unknown to national governments and there are many programs in place…, Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation