IEEE’s ‘Empower a Billion Lives’ finalists announced


The IEEE hosted the finals of its ‘Empower A Billion Lives’ initiatives in Baltimore on the 28th and 29th of September in Baltimore.

Some 23 teams participated in the finals, showcasing how best their solutions can help address energy poverty, which according to the IEEE is impacting some 3 billion people across the globe.

Winner will be announced during the IEEE Energy Access Workshop and EBL Prize Ceremony on October 1, 2019. Follow the news here…

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Of the 3 billion people living in energy poverty, 1.1 billion live off-grid and have incomes less than $2 per day.

The group stages of the competition started with 450 registered teams, who were shortlisted to 82 and the 23, from 70 countries.

Winning teams received over $200,000 in prizes, including a $100,000 grand prize, bringing the total awards that the teams will receive to over $500,000.

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The competition was initiated by the IEEE Power Electronics Society and secured sponsorship from a number of energy players including Sungrow Power Supply Company, the Center for Distributed Energy at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the IEEE Foundation.

EBL Global Chair Dr Deepak Divan said that “getting 3 billion people to OECD levels of energy use with existing grid-extension strategies seems very expensive and could be catastrophic in terms of carbon emissions – new approaches that offer lower-cost and higher-value are clearly needed to help those living in energy poverty leapfrog current solutions. EBL seeks to unlock global innovation to achieve this goal”.

 IEEE Power Electronics Society President – Dr Frede Blaabjerg, reiterated that “for these solutions to be viable even for the poorest customers, fast-moving new technologies such solar PV, batteries, microgrids, power electronics, cloud computing, smartphones and mobile-money are needed. The EBL format encourages teams to think holistically, simultaneously addressing issues of technology, social impact and business model to accelerate adoption and scaling”.