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© Hivos / Josh Estey

Energy is at the core of human development. We need energy in our daily lives, for our economic activities, our education and our health.

Access to energy is a human right and is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015. However, one billion people still live without electricity and more than three billion lack access to clean cooking.

Green & inclusive energy is about making energy systems sustainable and fair: from policy and regulation, to energy providers and businesses, to financial institutions and consumers. Making energy systems green and inclusive has multiple benefits for everyone and for our planet. 

Why green?

Green energy comes from a renewable source such as sun, wind, or water (hydro power). Off-grid energy from renewable sources is the fastest and most cost-effective way to deliver energy access.

To protect our planet we need a rapid change away from fossil fuels. The extraction and consumption of oil, gas, and coal is a key driver of climate change and leads to instability and pollution across the world.


Why inclusive?

The energy we produce is not distributed evenly. The vast majority of people without access to energy live in poor countries and often in remote areas far from a central electricity grid. 

Access to affordable and green energy leads to great improvements in health, education, and opportunities for women. It also spurs entrepreneurship and increases income because local businesses can use energy for productive uses. 

© Hivos / Sven Torfinn

Clean cooking

Globally, 1 billion people, or 13% of the world’s population, still lack access to electricity. Access to clean cooking is even further behind with around 36% still cooking on traditional biomass fuels such as firewood. This is causing serious damage to their health. Although more and more people gain access every year, we are far from on track to achieve universal access to affordable and clean energy by 2030 as set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Traditionally, having access to energy meant that you had to live close to a central electricity grid. But the global energy system is going through a transformation where smaller off-grid/decentralized systems, such as mini-grids and solar home systems, powered by renewable sources, are growing in numbers every day. 

It is projected that over 60% of the people who become electrified globally by 2030, will get the energy from renewable sources and that off-grid and mini-grid systems provide the means for almost half of new access (IEA Energy Access Outlook 2017).

But 'energy access for all' will remain a hollow phrase as long as leaders fail to significantly invest in decentralized renewable energy; that is the only way for more than a billion people to obtain access to reliable, affordable and clean energy.

Access to energy makes communities safer, helps small businesses thrive and powers essential services such as schools and health clinics.

To drive the transition towards sustainable and fair energy systems, Hivos launched the Green & Inclusive Energy advocacy program. Read more about what we do.