Energy for sustainable development

While energy is considered essential infrastructure for industrialization, provision of services and comfort in general, nearly 1.3 billion people in developing countries still lack access to electricity and at least some 2.6 billion people rely on traditional fuels for cooking. If poverty is to be eradicated and sustainable development achieved, access to modern, clean and efficient energy services needs to receive greater attention. Fortunately, in the past years, the question of energy access in developing countries has finally reached the global environment, climate and development agendas. Agenda 21, the Climate Convention and the Sustainable Development Goals define important frameworks for action.

Electricity access can play an important role in addressing and achieving development goals. Thus exploring the symbiotic relation between energy, economic growth, environment and health is vital when designing technical and financial systems to meet the multiple needs of developing regions. Such systems have to fit local conditions, providing not simply physical infrastructure for energy provision but also a vector of development. In other words new services can be provided to alleviate poverty and stimulate existing economic activities towards sustainable development. The vector of development embodies desirable social changes through new services and institutions that establish and regulate such services, promoting innovation in dynamic market contexts.

Photo: Maria F. Gomez

The convergence of environment and development agendas is instrumental for promoting sustainable energy systems. Global agendas can help channel investments and support innovation. The challenge remains as to how resources should be allocated, what solutions should be promoted and how policies can support multiple goals. Ultimately, we need actions that help improve equity, increase welfare and promote sustainable development.

At ECS, we are exploring ways to promote electrification particularly looking into policies, institutional organization and investment options. We analyze the development of markets for renewable options for developing country contexts and develop indicators to monitor policy implementation.

Belongs to: Department of Energy Technology
Last changed: Feb 10, 2016