PublicationJournal Article Affordable Energy for Humanity: A Global Movement to Support Universal Clean Energy Access

July 21, 2019
Publication Type:
Journal Article

Bold actions are nec­es­sary to unlock the poten­tial for eco­nomic empow­er­ment by erad­i­cat­ing energy poverty (UN Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goal 7) by 2030. This will require a sus­tained com­mit­ment to sig­nif­i­cant lev­els of new invest­ments. Deliv­er­ing on the promise of uni­ver­sal energy access and improved life qual­ity has eluded policy-​​makers and gov­ern­ments over the past seven decades. Afford­abil­ity of energy ser­vices for every global cit­i­zen, span­ning vastly diverse regions and local con­texts, requires the devel­op­ment and mas­sive dif­fu­sion of tech­nolo­gies that offer “point-​​of-​​use” options com­bined with new busi­ness mod­els. Social inno­va­tions and flex­i­ble gov­er­nance approaches will also need to be inte­grated with tech­no­log­i­cal advances. The scope and scale of devel­op­men­tal change span large-​​scale grid sys­tems to decen­tral­ized dis­trib­uted resources at com­mu­nity lev­els to the house­holds. We rec­om­mend a global net­work of “energy access inno­va­tion cen­ters” ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing a dynamic “exten­sion ser­vice” that bol­sters the entire sup­ply chain of tal­ent and exper­tise, design and oper­a­tional require­ments of sys­tem deploy­ment and capac­ity to embed low-​​cost, high-​​performance next-​​generation tech­no­log­i­cal solu­tions in the field. To meet the needs of those at the base of the eco­nomic and social pyra­mid, the dual chal­lenges of eco­nomic devel­op­ment and tran­si­tion to a low-​​carbon energy future make clean energy access the quin­tes­sen­tial chal­lenge of the 21st century.

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