Dr Tony Heynen
India recently celebrated a significant milestone with respect to energy access: on 28 April 2018, Prime Minister Modi announced that the government had electrified 100% of villages in the country. Whilst this is a significant achievement, it is diluted by a more sobering reality: 305 million people in India are still without access to electricity, with many millions more experiencing unreliable supply. This presentation sheds light on this discrepancy, exploring definitions of both "village' and "electrification', which reveal that village and household connections do not equate to access and use.
This vast population in India facing "energy poverty" represents a market for micro-level actors, and in particular for private sector firms providing off-grid solutions. However, due to the ever-expanding grid, such firms may face uncertainty and must carefully consider their value propositions and strategies. This research presents rich qualitative insights from exemplar firms in India's off-grid sector, to understand how market actors are progressing in the face of such uncertainty. Interviews with carefully selected firms provided a unique "insider' perspective into the role that the private sector plays in this challenging economic and risk-burdened environment - providing electricity to the homes of India's energy poor.
Tony Heynen is a researcher in The University of Queensland's Energy & Poverty Research Group. He has a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at UQ and also has an MBA from the National University of Singapore. Tony completed his PhD at UQ in 2017, examining the business case for energy distribution in India's "Base of the Pyramid" marketplaces. Tony is a Chartered Professional Engineer with extensive experience in the resources sector, including as Country Manager for Italian energy company Eni in Timor-Leste. He continues to research energy access issues in developing countries, including energy policy, stakeholder management and marketing systems at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).