WASHINGTON: World Resources Institute (WRI) announced a $2.3 million grant from the IKEA Foundation to bring clean electricity to a combined 1 million people in India and East Africa. The funding will help integrate affordable, reliable and clean electricity for all – an inaccessibility for more than 1.1 billion people worldwide.
Many critical services like schools, medical clinics, and agricultural facilities in rural areas of India and East Africa are currently off the electricity grid. With the IKEA Foundation’s grant, WRI will identify development organizations working locally in three key sectors—education, health and agriculture—where expanding electricity service has important development impacts, such as extending their operating hours, educating more students and reducing food waste.
“Our work with the IKEA Foundation is exciting because it’s changing the historically supply-driven energy model into one that is instead user-centric, and most importantly, inclusive,” said Davida Wood, Energy Access & Governance Lead at World Resources Institute. “What makes this project different is that it enables development service organizations to drive the market for clean energy. This user-focused approach will be critical to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and will truly serve the needs of those without energy access.”
IKEA Foundation funding will enable three components of the project: making the demand for electricity visible through maps, building partnerships to link development facilities to clean and affordable electricity, and mobilizing finance at scale. The project will target entrepreneurial opportunities to raise $8 million in investment finance for the chosen development organizations to scale renewable energy infrastructure.
“We have to use big data to map out the energy needs of vulnerable communities and we need to ensure that clean energy efforts are well-coordinated and user-driven and that no one is left behind” said Jeff Prins, Head of Portfolio at the IKEA Foundation. “This is what we are trying to achieve with this new partnership.”
Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 will ensure universal access to affordable electricity by 2030, which requires investment in clean energy sources. By engaging with users directly, this project assesses electricity needs using data from the demand side, enabling knowledge-sharing that can take solutions to scale.