London, 17 December 2020: A new online platform was launched today to provide practical information and enable peer-to-peer networking for innovators developing technologies and business models to help end energy poverty. The new Energy Catalyst Community is the latest addition to the Energy Catalyst, a UK government-funded programme designed to accelerate access to sustainable energy in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia through grant funding, business acceleration support and brokerage activity.
Despite progress in recent years, the global community is significantly behind in meeting the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) of ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. For example, four billion people around the world still lack access to clean, efficient, convenient, safe, reliable, and affordable cooking energy.
Without sustained efforts, 620 million people will be left without access to electricity in 2030 and 85 percent of them will be in sub-Saharan Africa. Cooperation is central to an expedited solution. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), international collaboration can increase effectiveness and maximise the impact of energy technology innovation.
To address this need, Energy Catalyst is designed to benefit the wider energy access ecosystem by creating partnerships, promoting learning, and funding the testing and demonstration of innovations that can accelerate energy access sector progress.
Through the new Energy Catalyst Community, a range of open-access reports, tools and guides are now available to help innovators solve challenges faster and deliver impact. In addition, companies who have received grant support through the Energy Catalyst will be able to access a member-only area that will be launched in early 2021, to facilitate collaboration with other grantees and encourage knowledge exchange to develop and commercialise solutions.
Dr Nicola Lazenby, Innovation Lead, Energy Catalyst, at Innovate UK said:
“Through Energy Catalyst, Innovate UK provides funding to pioneers who are developing solutions that will help to close the energy access gap for millions of people. We have supported over 150 projects across nearly 30 countries based on a wide range of technologies including clean cooking stoves, energy storage, distributed solar, biomass and mini-grids. With the launch of the new Energy Catalyst Community platform, we want to harness the full benefit of the knowledge gathered over the past five years and make this and ongoing lessons learnt accessible to help educate, inform and build capacity in the wider market.”
The Energy Catalyst Community platform has been developed as part of the Energy Catalyst Accelerator, which provides commercialisation support to Energy Catalyst grantees and a range of learning exchange and educational activities for wider energy access stakeholders. It is funded by Innovate UK and delivered in cooperation with partners including the Carbon Trust, Energy 4 Impact, Power for All, Intellecap and Open Capital Advisors.
Notes to editors
To date, Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst has provided around £70 million of official development assistance to 151 projects, involving 360 organisations focused on the clean energy transition in developing economies. A wide range of technologies have been supported, across nearly 30 countries, such as clean cooking stoves, energy storage, distributed solar, biomass and mini-grids.
About Energy Catalyst
Energy Catalyst, an Innovate UK programme, helps early- to late-stage innovators develop market-based technologies and business models that accelerate access to clean, modern and affordable energy in Africa and Asia. For more information, visit https://energycatalyst.ukri.org/.
The Energy Catalyst is run by Innovate UK and is co-funded by partners including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Global Challenges Research Fund.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website. We drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk
About UK Research and Innovation
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, with a budget of over £8bn. It is composed of seven disciplinary research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.
We operate across the whole country and work with our many partners in higher education, research organisations businesses, government, and charities.
Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally.
Our mission is to convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good
 World Bank (Sept 2020) The State of Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services. Available at https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/energy/publication/the-state-of-access-to-modern-energy-cooking-services
 Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report (2020). International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency, UN Statistics Division, World Bank and the World Health Organisation https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/data/files/download-documents/01-sdg7-executivesummary_0.pdf
 Energy Technology Innovation Partnerships – Technology Report (2019) International Energy Agency https://www.iea.org/reports/energy-technology-innovation-partnerships