Ending energy poverty in India

Ending energy poverty in India


(calming music) – One thing we’ve learned
is that really poverty and energy poverty go hand in hand, and that means if you
have access to electricity and you’re using it more and more, you’re actually moving yourself and your community out of poverty. (calming music) It was extraordinary to
meet the beneficiaries of the Smart Power India Program. Once people get access to reliable, always on, 24/7 electricity, girls can read at night, young women feel safe in their communities because there’s street lighting, and we just saw that over and over today. (calming music) We visited a school where we met kids who all say they can now read at night, whereas before they didn’t
have reliable lighting, and it’s just changed their lives and we asked one young girl what she really aspires
to be when she grows up and now that she’s able to study she wants to be an engineer and she wants to help her
community be successful as well. I met a gentleman who
restarted a flour mill that he had shut down years earlier because he couldn’t afford the diesel. Now he has a successful
and thriving flour mill. He’s processing agricultural
output from nearby farms and helping that whole community earn more income and be more productive. Talking to a doctor who does probably 20,000 cataracts surgeries a
year to serve the poor for free and he’s now able to
have more surgical hours. He says he has more people coming to him because they know he’ll
be open and the tension, as he put it, of having to shut down because the power is out is no longer a part of
his business calculus. That allows him to invest in growth, and to create jobs, and
to create opportunity. (calming music) To me, this community in
rural Bihar proves the case that energy poverty is
poverty and vice-versa, and if we can bring solutions to that task we can help people move
themselves out of poverty and do so permanently
simply by alleviating the main constraint
that’s keeping them poor which is the high cost of
unreliable access to energy. (calming music)