Clean Energy Access for Remote Pacific Island Countries – CLEARPICs

In Countries and Territories (PICTs) in the indo-Pacific access to electricity has increased from 31% of households on average in 2010 to 55% in 2018. Three of the largest and most populous PICTs, however, have the poorest electrification rates (by household) – Papua New Guinea (PNG) (47%), Solomon Islands (57%), and Vanuatu (64%). A mixed energy approach that continues to support the increasing demand for access to energy with the inclusion of some of the most remote and rural communities across the Pacific is critical towards achieving SDG7 and a shift away from fossil fuels to meet the countries Nationally Determined Contributions. Universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services is articulated in SDG 7, hence supporting remote and island-based communities to access energy and catalysing business opportunities will be transformative.

Existing hurdles and risks are high for private companies doing mini-grid projects in the PICTs. The remote nature of the islands and harsh marine environment poses challenges of accessibility and lack of economies of scale. Such unfavourable conditions result in a high cost and risk which prevents private companies from engaging. As a result, there has been a vacuum of responsibility for the sustainable operation of mini-grid projects, which in turn results in unsatisfactory performance and unfulfilled socio-economic benefits of mini-grid projects.

This new project is to support energy access across PICTs through research into technology applicability, scale and governance within case study countries by undertaking geographically specific research into opportunities for off-grid energy deployment within PICTs countries. The project includes five work packages with some delivered across all PICTs whereas others will be undertaken on a selection. The three PICTs that have the poorest electrification rates (PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) will be covered by specific tailored activities along with other PICTs that have made more energy access progress to help further progress pioneer markets and act as a reference case, such as Fiji.


SUNRISE is an international project that seeks to address global energy poverty through the research and development of next-generation solar technologies. The project is currently demonstrating the effectiveness of these technologies through a series of demonstrators in rural India. It is led by the Swansea University and unites several leading universities and industrial collaborators from the UK and Global South in a transdisciplinary research collaboration. It is supported by the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform.

Transforming Energy Access (TEA)

Transforming Energy Access (TEA) is the flagship Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) research and innovation platform supporting early-stage testing and scale-up of innovative technologies and business models that accelerate access to affordable, clean and modern energy, enabling sustainable, and inclusive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Indo-Pacific region. This includes clean energy supply technologies (e.g. next generation solar), super-efficient demand solutions (e.g. efficient appliances, sustainable cooling, modern cooking) and smart delivery solutions (e.g. energy storage, green grids, hydrogen). It targets people and enterprises who have no or limited access to clean, modern energy services and limited opportunities to participate in, or benefit from, the energy sector through employment and income generation opportunities. TEA leads on several Ayrton Challenges including ‘Next Generation Solar’, ‘Zero Emissions Generators’, ‘Energy Storage’, ‘Clean Hydrogen’, ‘Inclusive Energy and Leave No One Behind’, ‘Sustainable Cooling for All’ and ‘Energy Efficiency’ (via the LEIA programme), and supports ‘Clean Transport’ and ‘Smart Energy Systems’.

Humanitarian Grand Challenge Fund

A Multi Donor innovation challenge fund that focuses on innovations in humanitarian contexts caused by conflict. This includes research and development into adaptation and adoption of new clean energy technologies such as sustainable energy solutions though solar mini-grids, clean cooking, solar powered health services, and innovative financing mechanisms, in countries affected by conflict or displacement. This programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Africa Regional Climate and Nature (ARCAN) Programme

Announced at COP26 in Glasgow, this regional programme supports the World Bank’s Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SMRI) to demonstrate renewable energy technologies with storage at scale, and the African Development Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to support clean generation capacity by pairing battery storage alongside solar, wind, and other technologies, and support smart grid systems and clean cooking. This programme is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is led by the World Bank and aims to support activities within the energy access sector globally by delivering critical international market data and sector tracking products, on a cost-sharing basis with multiple donor bilateral and philanthropic partners. ESMAP tools include the SDG 7 Tracking Framework, the Multi-Tier Framework for Energy Access, the Regulatory Index for Sustainable Energy (RISE), and the Global Electrification Platform. ESMAP develops and maintains specialised energy datasets and analysis relevant across the Ayrton Fund’s scope. ESMAP also delivers training and advice to World Bank Task Team Leaders and client Governments on emerging energy technologies and related policies, and capacity building for national statistical offices in monitoring and tracking SDG 7.1.1 and 7.1.2 indicators. ESMAP is supported by the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform and the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme.

Mini-Grid Funders Group

The Mini-Grid Funders Group (MGF) consists of ~30 sector funders and financiers (representing a total committed investment of around $1.8bn into mini grids globally) coordinating efforts and sharing lessons. The MGF is chaired by the World Bank, African Development Bank, and FCDO, with the Carbon Trust (through the Transforming Energy Access platform) acting as the Secretariat. The group’s objective is to deploy committed funding quickly and effectively to deliver clean energy access to as many unserved communities as possible via clean energy-based mini-grid electrification.

Mini-Grid Partnership (MGP)

The Mini-Grid Partnership (MGP), supported by the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform, aims to foster deeper collaboration and coordination amongst the mini-grid sector’s key players, to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy mini-grids in communities facing energy poverty challenges. It does this through:
– implementation and facilitation of the MGP Secretariat
– development, coordination and dissemination of two State of the Global Mini-Grids Market Report updates
– by connecting the MGP to wider distributed renewable energy sector efforts.

International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF)

The International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) is designed to enable potential and foster prosperity. It will support UK researchers and innovators to work with international partners on some of the most pressing themes of our time. ISPF will give researchers and innovators access to global talent, large-scale facilities, research ecosystems and markets to swiftly move forward ideas to greater maturity, applicability, and commercialisation. It will stimulate research impact in line with the UK’s ambition to become a global science and tech superpower. This programme is funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

ISPF funding opportunities are published on individual ISPF partner websites (available in the link above) and target regions vary from partner to partner.

Energy Catalyst – led by Innovate UK

Energy Catalyst, led by Innovate UK, is a well-established open call grant funding programme that runs in regular tranches to support innovators to develop new technologies and business models that can improve lives in Africa and Asia. Energy Catalyst accelerates the innovation needed to end energy poverty through both financial and advisory (incubation) support, and by building strategic partnerships and uncovering new insights. Energy Catalyst is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform, and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).