May 4, 2020

An Off-Grid Energy Future Requires Learning from the Past

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Achieving universal energy access by 2030 requires leveraging the technologies that are transforming energy: solar power, batteries, the internet of things, and energy efficiency. But this won’t be enough. We will also have to apply the lessons learned from public finance in the energy sector, write Jonathan Phillips and Victoria Plutshack, of Duke University's Energy Access Project, and Gabriel Davies, of CrossBoundary Group, in a blog post for the Brookings Institution.

In a new policy brief, the Energy Access Project, in collaboration with the Energy Access team at CrossBoundary Group, looked at the experiences of seven countries that have made great strides in bringing electricity to their rural populations: Brazil, Chile, Laos, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Tunisia. Despite widely different circumstances and initial electrification rates, there are important similarities. Two stood out: the costs of such programs and the role of subsidies in facilitating last-mile connections.

Read the policy brief, "Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 1: What the Electrification Experiences of Seven Countries Tell Us about the Future of Connection Costs, Subsidies, and Integrated Planning."