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  • Rural Spark

    Well said! We envision the world energy network to evolve from a rigid, top-down controlled infrastructure towards a more organic, autonomous functioning network in which energy, information, service and control is distributed on all levels.
    This is currently being realized in rural India, it might inspire you:

  • danielperlaky

    Well said and great points – I too am cautiously optimistic about seeing some real improvements and I think off-grid distributed hybrid power systems are a way for communities to have greater ownership and control over their energy... especially if these systems can create reliable baseload power to run homes and businesses (beyond a few lights and stoves).

    The biggest challenge is probably scaling these energies... Our Switch Energy Project explores these issues from a scientific and technological point of view with expert input –

    And, in the meantime, I think it's important for us all to focus on efficiency in our own lives... those little things add up and it's an actual step we can take today and every day.

  • FeronaH

    There's also Little Sun: working on a similar project (bringing light to the 1.6 billion people off the grid), and working with local small businesses, rather than international investors. They've gathered support from world's leading energy experts for their Charter of Light ( e.g. Prof. Nigel Thrift (Vice-Chancellor & President, University of Warwick UK): - might be of interest?

    • Audrey Desiderato

      Thanks for the tip. I'll be speaking to LittleSun this afternoon.

  • markamito

    I'm Tanzanian and I concur with the notion that social entreprenuers are the most feasable solution to our on-going power hurdles. In general, power around the country is not stable (in terms of contined supply and distribution) regardless of whether you examine this issue along the rural-urban divide. I live in Dar es Salaam and power interruptions, sometimes back-to-back 24 hour outtages, are common in parts of the city. What's needed is for young, proactive minds to come together and spearhead this initiative. Relying on the government or so-called development initiatives will only address specific areas of interest and in the long-term will accomplish very little in terms of providing a sustainable supply. With the success of mobile phone payments in the country (and indeed the East African region), entreprenuers should leverage on mobile technologies as a platform for collectiong payments especially amonng the rural poor for electricity connections/distribution. A key reminder in any initiative is that it must be owned by local champions for it to have lasting and meaningful impact.

    • Audrey Desiderato

      Asante sana. Yes, I did notice that power outages are very common in Dar! There are many young, innovative companies in Tanzania building off the success of the mobile phone distribution network and M-Pesa.

  • Brooke Edwards

    Heifer International works in rural areas around the world, and we have found great success and adoption of biogas units for cooking and lighting, particularly in Asia and Africa. These systems capture methane gas from livestock, crop and even human waste to provide clean, convenient energy while reducing the reliance on unsustainable fuel sources. Read more here:

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Love this idea. Wondering how to scale it to any home? It would be cool to see your idea posted on our Nest challenge at Let me know if you apply, Brooke!