Drawing Economic Benefits

Maximising the impacts of energy access by drawing economic benefits from the productive use of energy

This digital seminar is the third in our joint series hosted by WISIONS in cooperation with the ACCESS Coalition’s Learning Group. It focuses on how to maximise the development effects of energy access.

Providing people with access to energy is not enough. To effectively improve livelihoods, people need the opportunity to use this energy productively.

For this online seminar, we invited expert speakers to share their experiences and discuss how energy access projects can create opportunities for productive use (PUE).

Missed the previous seminar? It focussed on how important it is for energy projects to Understand the Communities in which they are implemented.


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In the discussion the panelists agreed that energy access projects should adopt one of two starting points: either by understanding the current use of energy by businesses or by identifying untapped potentials for business use.

Energy access can have an impact on various aspects of businesses, such as cost savings due to the replacement of fuels or by the automation of irrigation systems. This means energy practitioners must have knowledge and skills in several non-energy-related fields, such as agronomy, accounting or marketing.

The panelists further highlighted the central role of appliance technologies (such as refrigerators, e-bikes and pumps). The challenge faced by practitioners of maintaining an overview of the technology market was highlighted, due to the innovative nature of the market. Common challenges include:

  • The availability (or lack thereof) of appropriate equipment
  • The need to assure quality standards
  • The affordability (or otherwise) of the technologies

In terms of financing, the panel concluded that the supply chain of PUE technologies, as well as the value chain in which the energy users market their products, must be considered. In particular, funding is needed for research and development, for pilot projects (for early-stage innovations) and for innovative PUE companies to scale up their businesses. In order to make use of consumer finance, business cases must be adapted to the users’ financial capacities.

Other crucial factors for sustainable energy access are:

  • Regulations to reduce market entry barriers for businesses that supply PUE solutions
  • Quality certification systems to protect consumers while providing room for further innovations
  • The establishment of a network of skilled technicians to ensure after-sale services
  • Cross-sectoral cooperation to ensure impact: e.g., by integrating energy considerations into programmes dealing with agriculture, rural development, health, the promotion of small industries, etc.

You can find the slides used in the seminar on the right hand side.

Further Materials:

This report provides a comprehensive picture of the vibrant sector that is emerging in Kenya, enabling the development and consolidation of diverse types of applications in which energy can boost the economic productivity of Kenyans:

This study examines the innovations and models emerging in the market, discusses the challenges and provides recommendations for the large-scale deployment of productive uses of energy: This study analyses the results of an impact evaluation of 30 small-scale energy development projects to better understand whether and how the supply of sustainable energy services supports productive use activities: This video introduces an exemplary case of productive use of energy for horticultural production by the Foundation 500RPM. Wind energy powers a drip irrigation system to grow strawberries in the Argentinean Steppe:


Luciana Proietti
Co-founder and President, Foundation 500RPM
Victor Gathogo
Energy Advisor, SNV
Temitope Udo-Affia
Technical Assistance Coordinator for Off-Grid Regulation and Market Development, GET.transform


Dr. Willington Ortiz | Senior Researcher; Wuppertal Institute, WISIONS Inititative

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