The importance of reliable, affordable electricity in raising living standards is well documented. In Europe, our focus is on minimising damage to the environment. However, in the Developing World, sustainability comes second, when survival itself is uncertain.

If the Developed World is to assist the Developing World to achieve our standard of living, new energy solutions must be developed, that are appropriate for societies where the availability of capital, a minimum level of education, the enforcement of law and order, protection against the forces of nature, and the stability of governments cannot be taken for granted.

The need for imaginative solutions is urgent – in many countries, electricity rationing is frequent and of long duration. Shops have to close, the streets become less safe, mobile phone batteries run out. When electricity is available, the price is unaffordably high, and electricity theft is consequently widespread. As the urban communities where most people live are overcrowded, the housing stock is poor, and the infrastructure limited or non-existent, there is no space for large solar or wind farms. This makes it very difficult to “think globally, act locally”.

These innovative solutions are likely to come from the brightest students who have grown up familiar with the challenges these societies face, but who do not have access to the technical or financial resources to turn them into reality.

Evonet Energy will identify promising schemes, and will create, identify funding for, and run pilot projects to determine their feasibility, affordability and practicality.