Energy Poverty

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EP Peruvian Stoves.jpg

Energy poverty is the lack of [safe], adequate, accessible and affordable energy required to satisfy basic human needs and promote economic growth.[1]


Overview and Impacts of Energy Poverty

Energy Poverty Special Excerpt of the World Energy Outlook 2010

Renewable Energy: A Solution to Energy Poverty

Renewable energy can help alleviate energy poverty and mitigate global warming.

Site Assessment

  • Performing an energy site assessment
  • Skills and tools to interview community members and survey community resources
  • Technical skills to monitor and collect data on energy poverty and climate change impacts (deforestation rates, indoor air pollution, cost of candles and kerosene, wood costs, agricultural and livestock impacts)
  • Evaluating renewable resources potential (sun, wind, water, wood, waste, geothermal, humans)
  • Evaluating access to replacement parts, technicians, and partners
  • Assessing the clients’ willingness/ability to pay
  • Assessing the level of pertinent skills among the people of the community, including literacy as well as technical/hands-on knowledge
  • Assessing a community’s ability to organize and work together (for example: are there existing groups, if so, what is their focus, can they help with community planning around this subject, if there are no existing groups, how to help get one started)


Basic terms used in the field of renewable energy (e.g. watt, volts, amps, current, panel, invertor, solar cell, including non-electrical terminology, BTU, Therms)

EP Water.jpg

There are a number of basic technologies available for renewable energy projects to alleviate energy poverty, including the following:

  • Solar lanterns
  • Solar electric
  • Solar thermal
  • Solar food drying
  • Solar cooking
  • Solar water disinfection
  • Passive solar (heating, lighting, cooling)


  • Micro/nano hydro
  • Water wheels




  • Biodigesters
  • Biomass cook stove
  • Waste to energy (charcoal briquettes)
  • Biofuel production
  • Briquette production

Human Power

  • Treadle pumps
  • Hand and foot crank systems (bike charging)


Geothermal hot water for heating



Hybrid Power Systems

General Rural Electrification


  • Team development
  • Web-based training materials
  • Educating community members
EP Cook Stoves.png

People, Partners and Policy


Individual motivations for participating in a project


  • Various roles needed to make up a successful project team
  • Potential partners for implementing projects (schools, churches, NGOs, microfinance, government, private businesses, agricultural industry)
  • Database of existing organizations in this area divided geographically and by topic or technology area



  • Estimating the cost to complete renewable energy projects
  • Microfinance
  • Database of existing funding organizations


  • Individual level
  • Household level
  • Community buildings
    • Schools
    • Health clinics
  • Community microgrids
  • Database of existing projects

Follow Up

Database of yearly updates to past projects successful and unsuccessful

Additional Resources

Photo Credits

To come...


  1.  "OFID Publication OFID and Energy Poverty Challenges - June 2010"