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Real Action: Green, local energy

Powering the world, one community at a time

Introducing microgrid technology

789 million people around the world are without access to any electricity, and millions more lack a reliable energy supply.

Surging fuel prices exacerbate this problem, leading millions of people into energy poverty. Many households are now facing a choice between heating or eating.

At the same time, the world faces another crisis: carbon emissions are warming the atmosphere rapidly, and burning fossil fuels for energy is among the main contributors.

As a result, an increasing number of people are considering off-grid living. But there are solutions closer to home.

Our Real Action series brings leading experts together to identify solutions to real-life challenges. In Real Action: Green, local energy, our experts seek to answer this question: how can we make renewable, resilient energy supply more accessible?

To this end, our Real Action experts reimagine the future of energy with microgrids.

Creating green, local energy

What is a microgrid?

A microgrid is a self-contained grid that uses renewable energy, batteries for energy storage and generators to produce power. Microgrids can complement the national grid or work independently from it, providing communities with access to more sustainable and resilient energy supplies.

With the latest technology innovations - such as 5G connectivity, IoT systems and AI - we can connect, monitor and manage the renewable sources and ensure a more efficient, reliable and sustainable microgrid infrastructure.

The issue of solving climate change in general, is urgent, and it is also urgent that we help end fuel poverty. We have seen that electricity prices skyrocket, so decoupling that economic viability from fossil fuels is core to solving climate change and ending fuel poverty.

“The issue of solving climate change in general is urgent, and it is also urgent that we help end fuel poverty. We have seen that electricity prices skyrocket and so decoupling that economic viability from fossil fuels is core to solving climate change and to also ending fuel poverty.”
Marilyn Waite
Managing director of Climate Finance Fund


Microgrid essentials for Real Action

Unlocking a sustainable future with a microgrid

Created by our experts, this is an introductory guide written to assist communities in obtaining sustainable, reliable energy supply through microgrids.

Download the guide

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Meet our experts


Marilyn Waite - Managing Director, Climate Finance Fund

LinkedIn profile

An investor and writer, Marilyn leads the Climate Finance Fund, which backs financial solutions designed to solve climate change. She is the author of 'Sustainability at Work', a book about environmentally minded careers and has contributed to articles for the Financial Times, Forbes, and GreenBiz, where she currently serves as editor-at-large.

A speaker of French, Spanish, Mandarin and English, Marilyn holds a master's degree with distinction in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a BSc Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.


Dr. Thomas Hillig – Founder and managing director of THEnergy

LinkedIn profile

Dr. Thomas Hillig is the founder and managing director of THEnergy, a boutique consultancy established in 2013 focusing on microgrids/mini-grids and off-grid renewable energy. For industrial companies, THEnergy develops energy concepts and shows how to become more sustainable - combining experience from conventional and renewable energy with industry knowledge in consulting.

THEnergy also advises investors and energy companies regarding renewable energy opportunities in rapidly changing markets.


Leslie Labruto – Director of the Marshall Impact Accelerator, LSE

LinkedIn profile

Venture philanthropy and investment specialist Leslie Labruto is the inaugural Director of the Marshall Impact Accelerator. This is a brand-new platform for the world's most promising social ventures, scaling them to help us tackle global challenges in areas such as health, the environment, social inequality, public policy and developmental economics.

An innovative technology evangelist and thought leader, Leslie Labruto has a history of leading transformation projects in multiple industries including telecommunication carrier networks.


Liana Ault - General Manager, Energy Innovation at Nokia

LinkedIn profile

Raised on a farm in Illinois, Liana is passionate about connecting rural communities, particularly focusing on the economic development of small communities - and providing them with reliable and affordable energy. With over 20 years of experience in network and telecommunications and 10 years in power utilities, she is currently the General Manager, Energy Innovation at Nokia.

She has dedicated her time to helping create programs and solutions for utilities to expand their services, solve challenges and help them meet the connectivity needs of underserved communities.


Jason Elliott – Real Action Series Host

LinkedIn profile

Inspired by the power of people and technology Jason strives to ensure that all types of audiences from consumers to technology professionals to board members have the knowledge they need to be successful.

With over two decades of I.T and wireless communications expertise he has made several notable contributions in delivering many industry firsts. He works to educate and collaborate on how technology can be used to realize new business opportunities, and address sustainability goals towards a better future for all.