Here we demonstrate wireless energy transfer that exploits the conductivity and permittivity of soil to create a potential gradient on the surface around an earthed electrode, distributing electrical energy over the area. This generated surface potential can be amplified using a special standing-wave receiver for harnessing the distributed energy. We have experimentally mapped the surface potential around the electrode and plotted the received energy covering an area of 1200 m2. Key operating parameters are determined with a discussion on optimizing the system efficiency. This technique could address the challenge of distributing electrical energy to many low power devices over large outdoor areas without the use of wires.