Clean Power Mongolian Nomadic Herders Get Electricity from Off-Grid Solar - CleanTechnica-080737

Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill


Mongolian Nomadic Herders Get Electricity from Off-Grid Solar

October 18th, 2012 by  

Life has changed somewhat dramatically for approximately 100,000 herder families across Mongolia after a new effort led by the Mongolian government helped supply portable off-grid solar home systems which are now generating electricity for lights, televisions, radios, mobile phone charging, and small appliances.

The program, Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access (REAP), was launched by the Mongolian government and supported by the World Bank and the Government of the Netherlands.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Over half a million men, women, and children now have access to electricity wherever they travel as they follow their herds of yak, cattle, sheep, goats, and camels around the 1.5 million square kilometres they call home.

“We are proud to be part of this effort, which means 500,000 people, or half the rural population of Mongolia, have electricity through portable and affordable solar home systems,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific in her first visit to the country.

“Now, children can study at night, families can watch TV and recharge cell phones, enabling them to connect to the world while maintaining their nomadic lifestyles. This is one of many innovative ideas that we are putting to work on the ground to make growth more inclusive.”

Did they want electricity though?

These Mongolian herders have been living in this fashion for century upon century, and the first question that came to my mind upon reading this story was ‘Who wanted the herders to have electricity?’ Was it the government or the herders themselves?

“A few years ago, country herders managed with candles and lanterns. The change in life between then and now is like night and day,” said herder Baatar Khandaa. “I believe that the quality of life in the countryside and the city are now about the same.”

That’s the only quote provided by the World Bank, though they do go on to add that herder families are now able to use television weather reports to help manage their livestock and use mobile phones to determine market prices for wool and cashmere. Economically sensible, yes, but hardly a rousing vote of confidence on the part of the herders themselves.

The World Bank press release cosily reports that “families can now relax and spend time together at night under electric lights.  Children can learn by reading and from watching television.” Seems to me that families had been relaxing together and learning quite well on their own for several hundred years without the intervention of electricity.

Nevertheless, the availability of such technology for communities such as Mongolian herders is a boon for not only the industry, but those communities around the world who may in actual fact both desire and require electricity. One can only hope that the World Bank and governments like the Netherlands are looking to other countries more impoverished with similar intentions in mind.

Source: World Bank 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network