Contribution to Sustainable Energy for All

Sustainable Energy for All high-impact opportunities (HIOs):

With coordination from the UN Foundation, members of the Practitioner Network served in a range of working groups in the first two years of the Network’s activities, focusing on key issue areas identified as essential for reaching universal energy access by 2030, and to promote productive uses of energy and cross-sectoral linkages in line with the Millennium Development Goals.

The working groups focused on driving specific recommendations for both immediate and longer-term market development in issue areas such as finance and investment, standards, supply chains, social protection, mapping, agriculture, health and micro-grids. They served as a first-order platform to network, catalyze ideas, and share information in a focused manner to drive concerted action towards the 2030 goal of Sustainable Energy for All.

The working groups’ main deliverable was a set of recommendations to highlight best practices and identify key areas for scaling up energy access, including: understanding the market, improving policy and regulatory frameworks, facilitating finance, advancing mini- and micro-grids, and improving standards and testing. The set of recommendations drafted with input from the Practitioner Network’s working groups was launched during the Rio+20 Summit, and was instrumental in strengthening the importance that was given to sustainable energy in the outcome document.

Since then, the majority of the Working Groups reconvene on a needs-only basis, and some have been integrated into larger initiatives.

Energy & Health

This working group was established with a focus on:

  • Access to modern energy services for community hospitals and health care clinics to support basic and comprehensive medical services, promoting the use of renewable powered medical solutions such as solar-powered vaccine and blood bank refrigeration
  • Access to energy services to support the activities of health workers, both in medical facilities and in communities
  • Access to energy services to support patients in emergency settings, particularly focused on communication and transport of patients requiring emergency medical services
  • Deployment of energy-efficient appliances specifically tailored for areas with no or intermittent access to energy
  • Ensuring that necessary operation and maintenance services are provided after installation for the life of the systems.

The efforts of the Working Group generated significant interest within the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and led to the creation of the High Impact Opportunity (HIO) on Energy for Women’s and Children’s Health. A number of Practitioner Network members who participated in the Energy and Health working group are now acknowledged as partners of this consortium.Under the broader umbrella of the HIO, an initiative co-led by the UN Foundation, the World Health Organization and UN Women, and funded by the Government of Norway, is seeking to catalyze the electrification of health clinics in developing countries. This initiative will set the stage for sustainable energy installations in rural health centers through needs assessments, advocacy, and mobilization of stakeholders for action. It will thus identify needs and ensure linkages between the energy and health sectors in an integrated manner.


Mini/micro-grids are essentially community-level installations whereby a number of villagers receive their energy services from a centralized generation plant, such as a micro-hydroplant, a hybrid solar PV/wind/diesel system, a biomass gasification plant, or at the small end, a battery recharging station, as well as other solutions. Some of these may serve hundreds of customers in terms of households and small industry, and be more than 1MW in terms of capacity, whereas others may serve a small number of families or small enterprises or community facilities like schools or medical clinics.

According to International Energy Agency, only 40 percent of global increased electricity needs are likely to be met by grid electricity.Expanding access to the remaining 60 percent, particularly in rural areas, will require the use of mini/micro-grids as well as stand-alone solutions.This working group was established to examine the policy frameworks, technical innovations, and financing models required to accelerate mini- and micro-grid development and deployment in communities without access to electricity. The working group also seeks to map existing mini-grid installations and facilitate the standardization of systems across the board.

Coordination of this working group has led the UN Foundation to serve as one of the five founding partners of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative’s Clean Energy Mini-grids Partnership. The UN Foundation will be sharing co-secretariat duties with the Practitioner Network Member Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE).

This partnership aims to use Sustainable Energy for All as an international framework to multiply the impact of existing and upcoming efforts in the area of clean energy mini-grids. It will focus on supporting the establishment of an enabling ecosystem for accelerated investment, deployment and replication of clean energy mini-grids grids towards the global 40 percent by 2030 target.