November 4 marks energy access day at COP26. Here’s our pick of stories and case studies to get you inspired and up to speed – and our tips for great events to join online (including The Ashden Awards at 6pm).
Around the world about one billion people do not have access to electricity, and three billion do not have access to clean fuels for cooking. This threatens their ability to earn a living, their health and wellbeing, and their ability to cope with setbacks and emergencies.
Community-based solutions are essential to powering up energy access. At COP26, it’s crucial that leaders and policymakers channel support to the frontline organisations already making an enormous impact. They are perfectly placed to respond to local needs, and to boost employment and create other positive outcomes in local communities.
Ones to watch: inspiring grassroots pioneers
In rural Uganda, community-based organisations provide many essential services – supporting better health, education, sanitation and work for local people. New Energy Nexus Uganda plays a unique role helping these organisations bring affordable renewable energy to the country’s remote villages, creating new markets for clean energy products.
Through financing, training and investment, it empowers grassroots organisations and entrepreneurs to create change in their own communities. The organisation is a finalist in the 2021 Ashden Award for Energy Access Innovation.
New Energy Nexus focuses its support on woman entrepreneurs – and tackling gender inequality is also at the heart of ground-breaking work by the United Nations Development Programme. The organisation has helped women in conflict-hit Yemen set up a solar microgrids, serving local homes and businesses. This has created cheaper energy for communities, a new income stream for women, and shifted attitudes to gender. Find out more.
Digital innovation from Bangladeshi company SOLshare is also driving change. There are nearly 6 million solar home systems in Bangladesh, but up to a third of the electricity they generate, worth $1 billion, goes to waste. SOLshare has developed a peer-to-peer solar energy exchange platform which allows households and small businesses to trade electricity with their neighbours.
Today’s events to join online (all times GMT)
- There’s no question about what’s the biggest event at COP26 today – the 2021 Ashden Awards ceremony. Watch as we show a powerful new film and announce our energy access award winners. The evening will also feature an inspiring speech from the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Quesada. Register now and watch from 6pm.
- See how coronavirus has affected progress on energy access, in a session from off-grid energy company BBOXX taking place at 9.30am.
- What role can microgrids play in powering up indigenous communities? Find out at an 11.30am event from the Indigenous Clean Energy Network.
- Events at the SDG7 Pavilion, run by Sustainable Energy for All, will include a 4pm session from nonprofit investment fund Acumen on centring the poor and vulnerable in the global clean energy transition. Register here.