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Leveraging Telecom Towers to Address Energy Poverty in India

Sustainable energy—energy that is accessible, clean and efficient—powers human progress. Access to electricity is a key driver of change, providing improved quality of life, transformative social gains and new opportunities for long-term economic security.

To address the twin challenges of energy deprivation and poverty, The Rockefeller Foundation, along with a number of partners, established Smart
Power for Environmentally-sound Economic Development (SPEED).

SPEED’s ultimate goal is to impact the lives of poor or vulnerable populations by delivering affordable, reliable and clean energy to rural communities, thereby improving their quality of life and facilitating opportunities for economic development.

To achieve this goal, SPEED has created an ecosystem that aggregates key stakeholders and critical industry players to build an enabling environment that supports the spread of decentralized renewable energy in poor communities. To date, SPEED has focused on:

Engaging entrepreneurs and Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) to gain their confidence and support in order to establish 22 power plants.

De-mystifying rural markets and plant economics by gathering reliable, relevant information and identifying potential sites through a cluster approach and completing detailed analysis of the sites which is available to potential ESCOs.

Facilitating community linkages by assisting ESCOs to negotiate fair community power purchase agreements, helping foster microenterprise development to help build demand load aggregation and facilitating local supply chain development.

Engaging the telecom industry by negotiating long-term Power Purchase Agreements with SPEED-supported ESCOs.

Supporting favorable policies that relieve investors’ concerns of a policy vacuum following the arrival of grid electricity.

Securing viability-gap financing by mapping the financing needs of various ESCOs with the types and sources of capital available.