It has been estimated that the amount of electricity required to make it possible for people to read at night, pump a minimal amount of drinking water and listen to radio broadcasts amounts to just 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per person per year.
Even multiplied by the 1.6 billion people who currently live without electricity, this would amount to less than 0.5 per cent of overall global energy demand.
Most developing countries have plenty of renewable energy resources, including solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy, and biomass, as well as the ability to produce systems that harness this energy.
In many circumstances, these investments can be less expensive than fossil fuel energy systems. In rural and remote areas, transmission and distribution of energy generated from fossil fuels can be difficult and expensive.
Producing renewable energy locally can offer a viable alternative.
Kenya is the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita.
More than 30,000 small solar panels, each producing 12 to 30 watts, are sold in Kenya annually.
Renewable energy projects in many developing countries have demonstrated that renewable energy can directly contribute to reducing poverty by providing the energy needed for creating businesses and employment.
Renewable energy technologies can also make indirect contributions to reducing poverty by providing energy for cooking, heating and lighting.
Renewable energy can also contribute to education by providing electricity to schools.
Renewable energy for cooking and heating can reduce the time that children spend out of school collecting fuel.
As part of the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows industrialised nations to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.
More developing countries are implementing the public policies needed for the widespread development of renewable energy technology.
China and India are leaders in developing local renewable sources of energy such as small hydro, small wind, biogas, and solar water heating projects.
Brazil produces most of the world’s sugar-derived ethanol and has been adding new biomass and wind power plants to meet growing energy demand.
The Philippine government believes the growth of the renewable energy sector is very important.
Their fossil fuel sector is unsustainable, dependent on the import of non-renewable fuel.
The country could be considered a world leader in renewable energy, with 30 per cent of its energy generation being powered by the renewable energy sector.
It is the world's second largest generator of geothermal energy and was the first Southeast Asian nation to invest in large scale solar and wind technologies.