Access to energy is a key factor for economic growth. However, energy poverty is a serious issue in Zambia. Only 20% of the population have access to on-grid electricity and in rural areas this is only 2%. 80% of the population therefore depend on biomass energy, mainly firewood and charcoal, for cooking and lighting. The anticipated population growth will increase demand for household energy, while investments in the development of the energy sector are not expected to match population growth. Furthermore, open fires and inefficient stoves release high levels of black carbon and expose users, especially women and children, to risks of indoor air pollution. Women also spend long hours collecting fuel wood, taking away time from other productive activities.
It is in this context that SNV focuses on the development of renewable energy to foster economic development and poverty reduction through a value chain development approach. Our current focus is on domestic biogas, improved cook stoves, and biofuels. Our objective is to develop innovative business models that address the need for sustainable, affordable household energy, from production through to end use.