Ending Energy Poverty and Empowering Lives

Energy access remains a complex challenge, particularly for those living in remote rural areas, in small island states and conflict-affected communities in Asia and the Pacific. It is important that we explore tailored solutions based on the local market requirement as well as opportunities—approaches that will not only provide clean, affordable, and reliable supply of energy to the people but also improve the overall quality of their lives. This is more important for women as they typically bear the brunt of energy poverty.

As the co-chairs of Track 3: Energy and Rural Poverty Alleviation, we are pleased to share with you that the speakers in our track will cover a range of related topics including climate-smart planning, mitigation technologies for small vulnerable islands, mini-grids for rural communities, microfinance to scale energy access, innovative end-use applications and impact assessments. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.

Session 3.1: Planning and Building for Climate Resilience and Low-Carbon Growth

Tuesday, 18 June | 2.00 pm - 3.30 pm

Asia’s rural populations—from remote mountainous regions to low-lying coastal communities in Small Island Developing States and in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations—are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and any energy planning and project design must consider their unique challenges. Presenters in this session will highlight success stories and show examples of mitigation and adaptation planning tools, clean technology applications, and innovative financing to move vulnerable communities in the Philippines, Lao PDR, Indonesia and the Pacific towards a climate-resilient low-carbon trajectory.

Session 3.2: Going Beyond Solar Home Systems: Scaling Up Micro-grids and Mini-grids

Tuesday, 18 June | 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Solar rooftop PV, particularly solar home systems, are well established globally, including across rural communities in Asia. Some efforts to promote solar rooftop have been successful; however, others, especially in remote and island communities, face multiple technical problems, including lack of proper maintenance or equipment replacement. This session will highlight approaches to scaling up solar PV in rural communities and will explore micro-grid and mini-grid configurations including storage systems to provide economies of scale while ensuring stable, reliable and adequate energy supply to power productive uses beyond household energy requirements. Case studies from the Pacific, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, as well as a women-centric mini-grid solution in South Asia will be highlighted.

Session 3.3: Innovative and Inclusive Microfinance for Renewable Energy

Thursday, 20 June | 9.00 am - 10.30 am

Energy access for poor rural communities is dependent on three core pillars: appropriate renewable energy technologies, effective distribution channels, and affordable financing. Microfinance institutions (MFIs), in partnership with pro-poor energy product suppliers, can offer financing and built-in distribution channels to their existing clients, most of whom are women. Presenters in this session will highlight efforts to improve financial inclusion for energy access through microfinance and will discuss how investments in clean energy can improve productivity, create jobs, and enhance livelihoods for poor rural families, and especially for women.

Session 3.4: Innovations in End-use Applications

Thursday, 20 June | 11.00 am - 12.30 am

Rural poverty is almost synonymous with energy poverty—without access to modern energy services, there is little opportunity for economic advancement. Access to modern clean energy allows for more productive end uses, job creation, longer productive hours, and cleaner water and sanitation, among other benefits. Presenters in this session will share their experiences from across Asia in the use of renewable energy technologies in specific end use applications, in households, and across development sectors. In addition to success stories in sustainable solutions for productive uses, assessments of the impact and outcomes of increasing energy access on the poor and vulnerable will be presented.

We have speakers from varied background, geographies and sectors to talk about challenges, solutions, lessons learnt, and best practices. We are sure the deliberations across Track 3 sessions over two days will provide practical insights on what we can apply as we strive to address the energy access issues in our region.

We are particularly pleased that we are going beyond solar home systems and exploring other innovative end-use applications. Join in and hear more about from our speakers and also share your experiences.

Cindy Tiangco and Niki Armacost
Energy and Rural Poverty Alleviation Track Co-Chairs,,
Asia Clean Energy Forum