This report analyses the links between energy access, income and livelihoods. It examines the definition of energy access, and reintroduces — and updates — the concept of 'total energy access' as a progressive framework to measure how people use energy in a healthy and productive way.

It states that agriculture is one of the sectors hardest hit by unreliable supplies of electricity, and argues that, for smallholder farmers, more use of modern energy services at various steps along the value chain can contribute to increasing incomes.

The authors conclude that energy access cannot guarantee improved livelihoods without reliability, quality, and cost-effectiveness of energy supplies — combined with access to markets, networks, and sufficient demand. Their analysis also suggests that making the transition from traditional to modern energy supplies holds new opportunities to earn a living from supplying energy.

Reaching poor people with modern energy carries social, economic and environmental benefits, and stakeholders — national governments, donors, utilities, businesses and civil society, community groups, and individual consumers — have a crucial role to play in creating universal energy access.