NEWS New Smart Villages offgrid solutions for helping world’s bottom billion–07/rha-nsv073115.phpDSCN0366

As Paris 2015 Con­fer­ence approaches, this new essay col­lec­tion points way to pro­vid­ing off-​​grid energy for world’s bot­tom billion

Opin­ion pieces from experts tack­ling the idea of energy as a cat­a­lyst for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment — health, food secu­rity, edu­ca­tion gen­der equal­ity, gov­er­nance, secu­rity and employment.

Smart Vil­lages: New Think­ing for off-​​grid com­mu­ni­ties world­wide com­prises 16 essays writ­ten by sci­en­tists and lead­ing thinkers from around the world. 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple world­wide still lack access to mod­ern energy, pre­vent­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment in these com­mu­ni­ties. The book reviews up-​​to-​​date accounts pro­mot­ing energy access in remote areas of the world. Insights will inform lead­ers, policy-​​makers and com­mu­ni­ca­tors, as well as encour­age a wider debate internationally.

Con­trib­u­tors include Pro­fes­sor Daniel M. Kam­men, Pro­fes­sor of Energy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Dr Chris­tiana Thorpe, recently retired Chief Elec­toral Com­mis­sioner of the Sierra Leone National Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, Pro­fes­sor Deepak Nay­yar, for­mer Chief Eco­nomic Adviser to the Indian gov­ern­ment, and Pro­fes­sor Ben­jamin K. Sova­cool, Direc­tor of the Dan­ish Cen­ter for Energy Tech­nolo­gies. The fore­word has been pro­vided by Tun Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul Hamid, for­mer Chief Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of Malaysia.

The vol­ume was com­piled by Pro­fes­sor Sir Brian Heap, who says, “we pub­lish these essays with pol­icy mak­ers and deci­sion tak­ers in mind — plan­ners of sus­tain­able off-​​grid well-​​being faced with the demand­ing chal­lenges of lift­ing the bot­tom bil­lion out of the poverty trap”. Its pub­li­ca­tion fits well with the United Nations Sus­tain­able Energy for All ini­tia­tive (se4all​.org) and the new Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals, post-​​September 2015.

The eclec­tic scope of the book cov­ers a range of view­points on the com­plex prob­lem of energy access in devel­op­ing coun­tries. On the sup­ply side, it asks, what are the sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal advances of today and tomor­row that could trans­form the way that energy, par­tic­u­larly elec­tric­ity, could be made more read­ily avail­able for rural trans­for­ma­tion? On the demand side, what are the enabling fac­tors that make energy access a cat­a­lyst for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in off-​​grid vil­lages? What frame­work con­di­tions need to be put in place so that local entre­pre­neurs can estab­lish enter­prises to deliver and make pro­duc­tive use of energy in remote vil­lages, the home of some 1.3 bil­lion poor and underserved?

As Dr John Homes, project co-​​leader com­mented from his Oxford office “it is rare for such a diverse and high-​​profile group of authors to be included in a sin­gle vol­ume. We hope that this col­lec­tion will bring home the impor­tance of coor­di­nated action on the part of gov­ern­ments, pri­vate investors and devel­op­ment fun­ders to realise the UN’s vision of sus­tain­able energy for all by 2030. While the chal­lenges are con­sid­er­able, the poten­tial pay-​​off in terms of out­comes for the bot­tom bil­lion could be tremendous.”

Smart Vil­lages: New Think­ing for off-​​grid com­mu­ni­ties world­wide is pub­lished by Banson.

The book is avail­able to view for free at​new-​​thinking

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