Energy as the Golden Thread: What Do We Know?
Energy has been called the “golden thread” connecting economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability—but what do we know about the drivers and impacts of energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries? To answer this question, the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative, the Duke University Energy Access Project and Environment for Development, characterized nearly 80,000 academic articles related to the social dimensions of energy and development to produce a systematic, broad in coverage, and replicable “energy services” framework. This new research highlights how changes in energy access and technology most clearly affect outcomes in 9 of the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and it defines the critical research knowledge gaps to help policy makers better understand how energy relates to end users’ well-being.