Pro-poor electricity provision

4th July 2014
Energy poverty is a major development issue - close to one-fifth of the world’s population does not have access to electricity. There is also the pressing need to decarbonise existing energy systems to address climate change. Making progress on both objectives requires a sharp increase in renewable electricity production.

A new Key Issues Guide on Eldis explores the potential poverty impacts of increasing renewable energy capacity in developing countries. Electricity access can have significant impacts on poverty and welfare, but not automatically. Once electricity is generated, it needs to be reliably fed into the system, then this additional supply must be made accessible, and affordable, for the poor. Increased electricity consumption then needs to translate into poverty reduction – and increased electricity supply can indirectly reduce poverty by boosting economic growth.

The Guide has been developed by Stephen Spratt as part of the Pro-Poor Electricity Provision Programme at IDS. The programme has also recently produced a literature review on the Evidence of Benefits for Poor People of Increased Renewable Electricity Capacity

As well as providing access to  the literature review, this Key Issues Guide discusses the following areas:
  • how increased on-grid renewable electricity capacity affects the availability and reliability of supply
  • the extent to which is an increased supply of more reliable electricity likely to be used by the poor
  • how does greater electricity consumption affect poverty?
  • how does increased electricity supply and usage affect economic growth?
This is one of a series of Key Issues Guides on Climate Change from Eldis.