Publication - Accelerating Energy Access: The Role of Patient Capital

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Accelerating Energy Access: The Role of Patient Capital
Published in
June 2018
We will not realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of access to clean, affordable energy for all by 2030 at the current rate of progress, according to the latest data. The stakes are high: more than one billion people live without access to electricity, and three billion people cook in ways that harm their health and the environment, and drain their household savings.

There is, however, ample cause to hope: of the more than 800 million people who have gained access to energy over the last decade, 360 million —or 45 percent— have gained access because of path-breaking startups. These companies have harnessed the potential of off-grid energy to bring clean, affordable electricity to people who previously relied on dirty fuels like kerosene for their lighting needs. Clean cooking companies have developed products that burn biomass and charcoal more cleanly and efficiently, leading to reduced household emissions and deforestation, and improved household savings.

Patient investors who saw tremendous potential early on have backed these pioneering energy companies, and they are proving that they can help solve the challenges of energy access for those living off the grid. In 2017, over $300 million was invested into the off-grid sector compared to $50 million in 2012, and total sales in the sector are nearly

$4 billion today.