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For the past 18 months, CGD has incubated the Energy for Growth Hub, a new initiative dedicated to the idea that energy should be an enabler, not a barrier, to human potential. The Hub is now ready to fly on its own.
Mobile phones provide a useful insight for energy: not that you can leapfrog a modern power system, but that most energy use happens out of sight. In fact, less than 1% of the energy needed for a smartphone is used by the phone.
While energy advocates have mostly focused on the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa that lack access to electricity at home, the region’s power shortages are especially damaging to firms. Companies across the continent suffer from unreliable power supplies, affecting productivity, employment, and growth.
Eighteen months ago, we blogged here about Kenya’s superfast electricity connection rate. The country had grown from 27 percent to 55 percent access in just three years, putting themselves on a fast-track toward near universal access by 2020. While this lightning progress was exciting, new research suggests that aggressive expansion may come with downsides, too.
In the push for electricity access in the developing world, many policymakers are trying to figure out where on-grid or off-grid solutions make the most sense. My new paper asks 39,000 consumers in 12 African countries about their energy use and demand. The big takeaway: African consumers don’t view grid versus off-grid as a binary question.
Sometime around 2045, Nigeria’s population will pass the United States in size. Nigeria isalready the world’s most under-powered country in the world relative to its income—nearly 80 percent below global trends. As large as the power gap is today, what will Nigeria’s electricity generation capacity look like in 30 years?
Every year, millions of Americans power up decorative lights to celebrate the holidays. These festive lights invoke the best human aspirations of peace, joy, and generosity. This time of year, Americans should also celebrate that we can enjoy these traditions because we live in a country with a modern energy system that (almost always) delivers affordable 24/7 electricity.