PublicationConference Proceedings Energy access and sustainable development

April 2, 2015
Publication Type:
Conference Proceedings

With 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple lack­ing elec­tric­ity to light their homes and pro­vide other basic ser­vices, or to con­duct busi­ness, and all of human­ity (and par­tic­u­larly the poor) are in need of a decar­bonized energy sys­tem can close the energy access gap and pro­tect the global cli­mate sys­tem. With par­tic­u­lar focus on address­ing the energy needs of the under­served, we present an ana­lyt­i­cal frame­work informed by his­tor­i­cal trends and con­tem­po­rary tech­no­log­i­cal, social, and insti­tu­tional con­di­tions that clar­i­fies the het­ero­ge­neous con­tin­uum of cen­tral­ized on-​​grid elec­tric­ity, autonomous mini– or com­mu­nity grids, and dis­trib­uted, indi­vid­ual energy ser­vices. We find that the cur­rent day is a unique moment of inno­va­tion in decen­tral­ized energy net­works based on super-​​efficient end-​​use tech­nol­ogy and low-​​cost pho­to­voltaics, sup­ported by rapidly spread­ing infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly mobile phones. Col­lec­tively these dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy sys­tems could rapidly increase energy access, con­tribut­ing to meet­ing the Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals for qual­ity of life, while simul­ta­ne­ously dri­ving action towards low-​​carbon, Earth-​​sustaining, energy systems.

Main Menu

Energy & Resources Group
310 Barrows Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3050
Phone: (510) 642-1640
Fax: (510) 642-1085


  • Open the Main Menu
  • People at RAEL

  • Open the Main Menu