Identifying Technology Innovation Needs and Opportunities Under Mission Innovation Challenge n°2: Off-grid Access to Electricity




‌Energy is the bedrock of modern life, vital to economic development, social equality, health and longevity. Yet, according to the IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2016, an estimated 1.2 billion people – 16% of the global population – did not have access to electricity in 2014. On average, these families spend between 1 and 2 USD/week just for lighting, using fossil fuels. The same IEA report identified 633 million people in Africa without access to electricity, and the World Bank estimates sub-Saharan Africa spends USD 10.5 bn/year on candles and kerosene for lamps. In other regions, isolated communities, for example on islands or in remote areas, are not connected to a large electricity grid and rely on often ageing diesel powered generators. But as technology costs come down, the economics of renewable systems, as part of off-grid systems, become more attractive than those of the main alternative and are often already competitive. The IEA has been consistently raising the importance of energy access on the international agenda. This topic is to be a special focus of the WEO-2017series, which will include a dedicated study on Energy Access Outlook: from Poverty to Prosperity.

‌Mission Innovation (MI) is a global initiative, which aims to dramatically accelerate global clean energy innovation. Participating countries have committed to double their governments’ clean energy research and development (R&D) investments over five years to 2021. MI Innovation Challenges were developed through a collaborative process between MI members to catalyze global research efforts. The second out of seven Innovation Challenges (IC) focuses on off-grid access to electricity and aims to develop systems that enable off-grid households and communities to access affordable and reliable renewable electricity. For individual homes, the objective is to reduce significantly over the next 5 to 10 years the price of renewable power systems for lighting and communication device charging, while expanding the range of services deliverable on household systems. For remote communities, the objective is to demonstrate, over the next decade, in diverse geographic and climatic conditions, the robust, reliable and autonomous operation of renewable power systems up to 100 kilowatt at a significantly lower cost than today.

Scope and Objectives

This Stakeholder Workshop hosted by the IEA in collaboration with the French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) will focus on identifying R&D gaps and opportunities regarding off-grid access to electricity, so as to help implement the work plan of MI Innovation Challenge n°2. It will also serve to highlight successful existing projects, allow participants to share best practices and will offer an opportunity to:

  • Build further consensus on priority actions for the implementation of MI Innovation Challenge n°2
  • Discuss targets and possible metrics to measure progress against implementation
  • Identify stakeholders for the implementation of innovative solutions and products

Meeting Documents

Workshop Report


Off-grid Access to Electricity Innovation Challenge – Progress Summary‌‌‌

Speakers Biographies

List of Participants

Photos of the workshop

Logistical Information



Welcome and opening remarks

Laurent Michel, Mission Innovation
Dave Turk, IEA
Fabrice Boissier, ADEME

Session 1: Mapping the state of energy access and off-grid systems

François Moisan, ADEME (Moderator)
Laura Cozzi, IEA
Emanuele Taibi, IRENA
Vineet Saini, India
El Hadji Diop, UNDP

Session 2: R&D and innovation needs in the field of off-grid access

2.1: Panel debate on solutions

Paolo Frankl, IEA (Moderator)
Astria Fataki & Abel Kidane, Energy Generation (Keynote)
Philippe Malbranche, INES
Fabio Belloni, European Commission
Thomas André, Schneider Electric
Stefan Nowak, IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems TCP
Ignacio Cruz, IEA Wind Energy TCP
Christian de Gromard, AFD

2.2: Panel debate on innovation business models

Lisa Dignar-Bailey, Natural Resources Canada (Moderator)
Robert Stoner, MIT (Keynote)
Cathy Zoi, ODYSSEY (Keynote)
Aaron Leopold, Practical Action
Thomas Duveau, Mobisol
Marc Gratton, Electriciens Sans Frontière
Jon Ridley, M-KOPA
Holmes Hummel, Clean Energy Works

Session 3: Stakeholder engagement

Frank van der Vleuten, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (Moderator)
Mark Radka, UNEP (Keynote)
John Keane, GOGLA
Marco Aresti, RES4AFRICA
Kat Harrison, Acumen
Kristina Skierka, Power for All

Closing remarks and wrap up

François Moisan, ADEME
Dave Turk, IEA