Practical_Action4 June 2014: Practical Action has released the Poor People’s Energy Outlook (PPEO) 2014 report on scaling-up global and national action for alleviating energy poverty. The report’s key message is that the international community must go beyond its current focus on expanding energy access through large-scale infrastructure investments to help poor families and communities escape the energy poverty trap and fully benefit from the dignity and development that modern energy services can provide.

The report calls for two shifts. First, it underscores the necessity of decentralized, off-grid energy to reach the 1.3 billion people who remain without access to modern energy services and the 2.8 billion people who lack access to safe cooking facilities. The message is not new, it says, but has been overshadowed by policymakers’ and the energy community’s prioritization of conventional, grid-based energy.

Second, it urges governments to replace oversimplified definitions of energy access with a multi-tiered, multi-faceted view of energy services and supplies that more meaningfully target the needs of the poor. The report provides new measures and definitions of energy access better able to address those needs, drawing lessons from the previous three editions of the report on energy access (2010), energy for earning a living (2012) and energy for community services (2013).

To meet this dual challenge, PPEO 2014 presents an Energy Access Ecosystem Index and an updated Framework for Action. The Index is designed to identify pathways for action by analyzing and measuring the policy, finance, and capacity dimensions of the energy sector at the national level. The Framework describes a new energy narrative intended to steer the Sustainable Energy for ALL (SE4ALL) Initiative, post-2015 development agenda, and related efforts away from a singular, supply-based focus on large-scale infrastructure investments towards a service-based approach needed to meet the needs of the poor. The Framework further outlines the need for finance for decentralized solutions; an ecosystems understanding of the energy landscape; spaces and support for civil society; right capacities; and a targeted call for action.

Practical Action also released a World Cup 2014 energy wall chart. The poster compares the solar power produced at World Cup stadiums with the energy used in developing countries. The reverse side of the wall-sized chart includes the 2014 World Cup fixtures.

The launch of the report took place at the First SE4ALL Forum in New York, US, on 4 June, joined by a panel discussion with representatives from Practical Action, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), and UN Development Programme (UNDP). French and English versions of the PPEO 2014 are available. Practical Action is a non-profit organization registered in the UK. [Publication: Poor People’s Energy Outlook 2014] [World Cup 2014 Energy Chart] [IISD RS coverage of SE4ALL Meeting] [IISD RS Story on PPOE 2012]