Global Energy Advocate, Practical Action

Aaron Leopold is a globetrotting energy policy expert whose primary role is as Global Energy Representative for the non-profit organization Practical Action, where he is also co-leading the development of Practical Action’s flagship publication, the Poor People’s Energy Outlook. He furthermore serves as an advisor to a number of key players in the solar energy access arena, including Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). He is also a Deputy Director of the Power for All partnership, which brings together industry and civil society to spur enhanced effort to end energy poverty.

Aaron became invested in solar energy access as a result of his research on solar energy in developing countries. “When I learned that 80% of energy infrastructure investment in the 21st century will take place in developing countries where access is such a key issue,” says Aaron, “I was hooked.”

At the Summit, Aaron wants to highlight two key areas that he feels can lead to the greatest unlocking of our collective potential to deliver energy to those without: financing and training. While the need for significantly more funding is more well-established, Aaron says that “there is an unnerving lack of attention to the need to develop business and vocational skills. Universalizing access will require the creation of thousands of companies, large and small.”