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Richenda Van Leeuwen

Executive Director, Energy and Climate/Energy Access Initiative

United Nations Foundation (USA)


Richenda Van Leeuwen is Executive Director, Energy Access Initiative leading the UN Foundation's work on energy access and its engagement with the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. She founded and leads UNF’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, a rapidly growing 1,200 member global network of private companies and public sector organizations which was launched in 2011 to catalyze market-led solutions for energy access in developing countries. Working closely with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, it focuses particularly on the contribution of clean micro-grid and off-grid approaches to providing energy services for off-grid areas of the world, and developing the financing and policy solutions as well as the partnerships necessary to support sustainable growth in the sector.

She joined the UN Foundation in 2010 from Good Energies, a global renewable energy private equity firm where she led its work both on commercial emerging markets renewable energy investments. She also served as a founding board member of the Good Energies Foundation, focusing on the application of renewable energy technologies for poverty alleviation in developing countries.  Prior to this she served as the Executive Director of Trickle Up, an international non-profit organization focusing on education and micro-business development in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas, from 2001-2005.

A sought out global speaker on energy access, gender development and poverty issues, she has more than 20 years of executive management experience with the UN, private sector and non-profits around the world. Her career has spanned work on four continents, and apart from work in renewable energy has focused on investing in micro- and small and medium sized enterprise development in some of the most challenging parts of the world, as well as post-conflict reconstruction, refugee and humanitarian relief issues and economic empowerment for immigrant populations.

She currently serves on the board of SELCO India, a leading renewable energy social enterprise focusing on energy solutions for poor families in India and has also previously served on boards of run of the river hydro and biogas companies in South Asia. She also serves as an advisor to a number of micro-grid and early stage companies and non-profits focusing on delivering clean energy services in Asia, Africa and the Americas.  

She gained both her Bachelors and MBA degrees from Durham University, UK.

You can follow her on Twitter: @VanLeeuwenR