News - Energy Access

Electricity enables health systems to detect, prevent, and treat infectious diseases. But nearly a quarter of health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa lack power, and only 28 percent actually have reliable supplies. The Energy Access Project's Rob Fetter and Jonathan Phillips write that there is a critical opportunity to make health facility electrification a central pillar of both near-term response to COVID-19 and longer-term efforts aimed at economic recovery and enhanced resiliency in this region.

A new blog post for the Brookings Institution—co-authored by the Duke Energy Access Project's Rob Fetter—addresses the importance of reliable electricity access for monitoring and treatment of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, in sub-Saharan Africa. The post highlights the value of off-grid solutions for health clinics far from the central grid, among other elements.

The “25x25: End Energy Poverty Faster” project, submitted by the 25x25 Electricity Access Acceleration Collaborative, was among the top contenders for a $100,000 philanthropic grant selected as part of a unique joint program with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Columbia Business School’s Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. The Duke University Energy Access Project is part of the collaborative.

In a new policy brief, Duke University's 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.

Technologies like geospatial imagery, machine learning and affordable batteries are generating ever more innovative ways to target customers with off-grid energy solutions. But according to analysts at the Duke University Energy Access Project, public policy is struggling to keep up with these rapid-fire developments, leaving vast amounts of human capacity and productivity untapped.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that “25x25: End Energy Poverty Faster,” submitted by the 25x25 Electricity Access Acceleration Collaborative, was one of the Top 100 proposals in its 100&Change competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve one of the world's most critical social challenges. The Duke University Energy Access Project is part of the collaborative.

The Energy Access Project at Duke, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and Sustainable Energy For All, have developed an Energy Access Dividend for Haiti and Honduras with the aim of quantifying the benefits of accelerated access and increased reliability in those countries.

A dozen student teams came to Duke University on Nov. 5 for the finals of the Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition to pitch solutions to one of the biggest energy challenges faced in Nigeria—poor reliability in urban areas. Now in its seventh year, the competition is one of the signature events of Energy Week at Duke.

Developers, donors, and customers are increasingly interested in the potential for microgrids to provide power to hundreds of millions of people who lack it, particularly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Microgrids offer the right combination of affordability, reliability, and capacity to service areas that need more power than a home solar panel can provide, but do not have enough load density for the central grid.

According to USAID, only 4 percent of people in rural Zambia has access to power. As a part of an interdisciplinary team called Bass Connections, a Duke University student team has spent the past academic year trying to get a better understanding of the barriers to energy investment there.