Access to energy is fundamental to human and economic development—it improves health, enables communication and education, generates income, and empowers women. It’s also become a focal point of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 7. Yet billions of people lack this key ingredient to a prosperous life. In fact, nearly half the planet, or three billion people, still cook their meals over open biomass fires.
We can capitalize on the co-benefits of micro-grids to both combat climate change and reach our global SDGs. Micro-grids provide so much more than illumination. Every new micro-grid increases GDP, powers cell-phone towers, provides communities with the means to store vaccines and provide lifesaving health services, illuminates streets at night to increase safety for women and girls, and prevents respiratory illnesses caused by biomass cook-stoves.