Access to clean energy services is necessary for achieving almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals, enabling improvements in health, education, economic growth, water supply, and the environment.  Here are specific examples of the positive impacts of our renewable microgrid projects as we work to help meet the goal of clean energy for all by 2030.

Environmental Impacts

Fight Climate Change

The adverse effects of climate change do the most harm to people with the fewest resources to help them adapt and survive climate-related natural disasters. By deploying renewal microgrids, we can:

  • Avoid new greenhouse gas emissions from expanded energy access: If we used fossil fuel to get to the goal of universal energy access by 2030, the negative environmental effects would almost certainly cancel out the benefits to the very people we hope to help. Fortunately, renewable microgrids are able to provide the desired benefits of energy access without increasing GHG emissions.

  • Reduce black carbon and CO2 emissions: Kerosene is widely used for lighting by those with no electricity. It produces CO2 (a greenhouse gas) and black carbon, believed to be the second largest contributor to climate change next to CO2.  Clean energy access eliminates the need for kerosene, dramatically reducing climate warming emissions.

Social Impacts

Improve Education

According to a 2014 UNDESA report, about 90 percent of primary school children in Sub-Saharan Africa attend un-electrified schools – schools  without electric lights, fans, computers, printers, etc.  The benefits of quickly and affordably supplying electricity to schools and the homes where students live include:

  • Longer classroom hours and the ability to study at night
  • Access to information technology – computers, printers, internet, etc.
  • Enhanced comfort, better school performance

Improve health and safety

  • No longer burning kerosene for lighting drastically reduces respiratory infections from indoor air pollution, child poisoning, and fire danger
  • Health clinics and hospitals with access to energy have lighting, refrigeration, and sterilization, making it possible to provide adequate care to their patients
  • Clean energy makes it possible to power fresh water pumps and run water filtration systems, reducing water borne illnesses
  • Street lights improve safety, particularly for women and girls

Economic Impacts

Clean energy access is vital in the quest to help move the world’s most vulnerable out of poverty. Some of the key economic benefits renewable microgrids can bring include:

  • Lower expenditures for energy: People in off-grid communities with no electricity still have to pay for energy, spending a very high proportion of their income on kerosene. Clean energy from microgrids frees up money for education, new businesses, and other productive economic activity.

  • Higher productivity: Human productivity is improved by reducing time spent obtaining kerosene or other fuels, by powering tools and machinery, and reducing kerosene-related health problems.

  • More opportunities for women: Freed from the need to spend hours obtaining clean water and/or fuel, women and girls have more opportunities for school or to start their own businesses. 

  • New local jobs: Microgrid projects directly create construction, maintenance and customer service jobs. Enabling technologies powered by clean energy provide off-grid communities with opportunities for new businesses and jobs.

Demonstration Impacts

While renewable microgrids are widely recognized to be essential to achieving the 2030 goal of clean energy access for all (SDG7), growth in the space has been relatively slow and is not yet recognized as commercially viable. The renewable microgrid solution is only viable with private sector investment, but private sector investment won’t flow unless commercial viability is proven to be attainable.

Millennium Microgrid’s business model will prove that when planned and developed right, renewable microgrids will deliver affordable, reliable clean energy services to customers in Sub-Saharan Africa while providing investors – impact investors and  institutional investors alike – with attractive, risk adjusted returns.  In doing so, we will bring more stakeholders into the market, and the potential for the widespread success of renewable microgrids will become a reality.