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Imagination needed for energy for theworld's poor.
The United Nations has set a global aspiration, known as Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), of “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.” This is a wonderful vision.
But he says
Mistake 1: Equating energy with just electricity at home.
The world’s dominant energy goal (and the principal indicator for tracking SDG7) is getting the ratio of electrified homes to 100%, AKA ‘universal energy access.’ It’s a worthy objective. Every person on the planet absolutely deserves to have lighting and electrical appliances at home.
Do we do the accounting of costs to make that electricity, deploy it and pay for the machines to use it?
Mistake 2: Defining modern down so low as to be borderline gaslighting.
Mistake 3: Forgetting affordable and reliable, which is what business really needs.
The ultimate goal of global development is to raise incomes and enable every person on the planet to have a fair shot at fulfilling their creative and human potential. That’s just not possible when people live in energy poverty.
Modern energy systems that can deliver cheap and dependable power at scale can drive higher living standards, productivity growth, and economic transformation.
Holding out hope for solving energy poverty by some reduced version of current energy consumption patterns in the north seems to me seriously wrong. In order to deal with climate change, we must limit the production of CO2. His argument is that we can increase the share of energy used by the poor while decreasing it for the rich. Is this politically feasible even if morally, correct? If 50% of the world’s population is poor*, “Affordable and reliable” sounds expensive and all the deliverables will be enriching the providing corporations. This is worth critical and imaginative thinking and I worry that Andy’s approach says we can stop imagining, just implement.
* as defined by the quality of life, not the dollar as the measure, covering cheap food and minimal space.