According to the International Energy Agency, there are 1.2 billion people globally who still live without electricity, and more than 95% of these live in Sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia. This lack of power, and lack of light, is contributing greatly to keeping these people trapped in a life of poverty.

Companies all over the world are working on energy solutions to replace fossil fuels in order to reduce pollution and hopefully halt global warming. At LM Wind Power, the vision goes much further than that. CEO Marc de Jong says that wind also has the power to break the cycle of poverty.

“Imagine having no electricity and the impact that it would have on daily life. Most of these people are in rural areas, so after 6 o’clock they are in darkness and forced indoors to gather around a smoky fire. When this is a daily routine, typically by the age of 50 you will have a 50% chance of developing lung cancer. Also, women and children have to stay indoors after 6pm because outdoors there is no light and they risk being raped or kidnapped.

“If children work during the day and into the evening, there won’t be any light to enable them to study, so there’s no way for them to educate themselves. They need to work during daytime hours under the sunlight in the fields for example, but in the evening — even if they had the energy to do so — there is no opportunity to study and try to improve their situation.

“Healthcare starts with nutrition and clean drinking water and if you want clean drinking water, you begin with energy. If you have electricity, you can produce clean water, and ensure hygiene and sanitation; and you can have light in the evenings to study and bring yourself to the next level. Critically, electricity can also give these people access to a whole world of vital knowledge via computers, mobile phones, and the internet. So clean, affordable energy is going to massively transform the inequality between the haves and the have-nots in this world.”