In Smart Villages access to sustainable energy services acts as a catalyst for development – enabling the provision of good education and healthcare, access to clean water, sanitation and nutrition, the growth of productive enterprises to boost incomes, and enhanced security, gender equality and democratic engagement.
Unfortunately it is a fact that, in the world today, 1.3 billion people remain without access to electricity. In addition, 3 billion are still cooking on dangerous and inefficient stoves. Many of them live in remote rural village communities. Until such communities have access to modern energy services, little progress can be made to develop their economies and improve their lives.
Smart Villages aims to provide policy makers, donors and development agencies concerned with rural energy access with new insights on the real barriers to energy access in villages in developing countries – technological, financial and political – and how they can be overcome. We are have chosen to focusing on remote off-grid villages, where local solutions (home- or institution-based systems, and mini-grids) are both more realistic and cheaper than national grid extension. Our concern is to ensure that energy access results in development and the creation of ‘smart villages’ in which many of the benefits of life in modern societies are available to rural communities.