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Secretary Kerry, the world is on fire, the threats are real, and you can’t work any harder. Even while firefighting, you're giving your first big development policy speech tomorrow, at USAID's Frontiers in Development Forum.
In what was perhaps another sign that the challenge of energy poverty is finding a voice in Congress, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing recently on electricity access in the 21st Century.
Energy poverty is an endemic and crippling problem; nearly 600 million people in Africa live without access to any power, which also means no access to safer and healthier electric cooking and heating, powered health centers and refrigerated medicines, light to study at night, or electricity to run a business. Here’s the situation in the 6 countries chosen to be part of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, home to nearly 1/3 of the continent’s population.
Over at the Council on Foreign Relations website, Michael Levi posted a reply to our recent paper on estimating the tradeoffs between OPIC power generation investments based upon natural gas and renewable sources. We are grateful to Michael for his thoughtful comments and for instigating a sensible discussion of the underlying issues.
Of the many outcomes in the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations legislation, one that stood out was buried in section 7081. This provision now allows the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to invest in fossil fuel power projects in IDA and IDA-blend countries. In other words, OPIC’s carbon cap has been lifted at least until the end of September.