IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity, and the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) announced that registration is open for the Empower a Billion Lives global competition, where teams will propose economical and sustainable energy access solutions for improving quality of life around the world.
According to the World Bank Group, three billion people around the world live in severe energy poverty, including 1.1 billion who live completely off-grid. Providing affordable energy access to them can dramatically impact their living standard, health, education, productivity and ability to be a part of modern society. Solving energy poverty using mature and proven 20th century solutions could result in an additional 3.8 gigatons per year of carbon emissions, which would cause great harm to the environment. This competition aims to encourage innovative and viable solutions that can sustainably scale to one billion customers.
Aligned with IEEE’s mission to advance technology for the benefit of humanity, the Empower a Billion Lives (EBL) initiative will encourage multi-disciplinary teams consisting of innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers to develop and demonstrate cost-effective solutions using fast moving 21st century technologies, which have rapidly declining prices. A tutorial on the competition was presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Power Electronics for Distribution Generation Systems (IEEE PEDG) in Charlotte, North Carolina, US on June 25, 2018 and will be available to all on the Empower a Billion Lives website.
A primary focus of EBL is to reduce technology and market risk, and to achieve scale and impact with solutions that are robust, economically viable and environmentally sustainable through crowdsourcing regionally relevant innovation to accelerate deployment of energy access solutions in the affected areas.
“The Empower a Billion Lives initiative tackles the issue of energy poverty that affects billions of people all over the world,” said Alan Mantooth, President of IEEE PELS. “Through this competition, we will challenge innovative minds to develop innovative, viable solutions that can be implemented to improve everyday lives.”
Teams from small and large companies, entrepreneurial start-ups, and research institutions from around the world are invited to participate and provide regional and cultural relevance to the solutions. Currently, 125 teams have registered to compete in the competition. Regional competitions in South Asia, Pacific Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas will lead to a global final in the US in 2019. Organized as an ongoing competition with subsequent cycles, EBL will leverage past learnings to allow further acceleration of the deployment of energy access solutions to reach a billion people.
For further information, to participate in, or to support EBL, please visit empowerabillionlives.org