News - Jonathan Phillips

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Jonathan Phillips was among four experts who shared a breadth of options with the World Economic Forum for new solutions to the energy transition.

Agriculture value chains are critical for climate-resilient development. So why are agtech companies unable to attract climate finance to accelerate scale-up, and what’s needed to mobilize agtech investment in low- and middle-income countries? A team from the James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke write about potential solutions in a post for The Brookings Institution's Future Development blog.

The Energy Access Project at Duke has received a new gift from M.A. Rogers to boost its work developing sustainable energy policy and market solutions in emerging economies. The organization was established in 2017 through an earlier gift from Rogers and her late husband Jim, the former CEO and chairman of the board of Duke Energy. It will adopt a new name in Jim’s memory: the James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke.

Jonathan Phillips and Victoria Plutshack co-authored a new report "Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 2 – Balancing Competition and Subsidy: Assessing Mini-Grid Incentive Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa" reviewing 20 mini-grid incentive programs in sub-Saharan Africa, 17 of which are still being implemented. A new blog post at Brookings summarizes their findings.

As revenue-starved utilities and governments search for places to save money in the pandemic-induced recession, investments in things like maintenance, infrastructure upgrades, and improved metering technology are getting shelved. Yet these are essential tools of utilities to increase reliability, reduce losses, and shift the culture of bill non-payment that has made the power sector Africa’s Achilles heel and slowed development for decades, write Jonathan Phillips, Robyn Meeks, and Victoria Plutshack.

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.

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.