Journal section: Theme Articles
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The latest Shell Foundation report ‘Accelerating Access to Energy’ provides some useful lessons for the sector, particularly about the challenges of building markets for innovative solutions. Innovation is about more than the championing of a small number of pioneering businesses. For an innovative product or business model to reach scale a wide range of actors need to be engaged. This article suggest that the concept of a ‘technology innovation system’ is a useful tool for understanding the challenges faced by a given technology. Innovation systems, including local innovation capacities, need to be built if access through innovation is to be accelerated. The Shell Foundation has taken important steps towards a systems approach but more could be done by bilateral donors and developing country governments. Ultimately energy poverty will only end when people are able to move out of poverty. Shell Foundation’s planned focus on energy to support economic activity is to be welcomed.
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Tags: Energy access; Innovation; Technology innovation systems; Building markets; Mini-grids
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