March 28, 2017

Power for All

Energy Policy, Decentralized Renewables

Decentralized Renewables: From Promise to Progress

Despite the U.N.’s goal of ensuring access to affordable clean energy for all people by 2030, default approaches—primarily extending conventional electricity grids—are not meeting the needs of the one billion-plus energy impoverished, who largely live in rural areas.

While recent technological advances have transformed the economics of rural electrification, many energy-poor countries are not taking full advantage of the energy evolution to accelerate access. This paper provides evidence that integrating decentralized renewable energy (DRE) into national energy policy and strategy will provide the fastest, cleanest, most cost-effective path to universal energy access. Specifically, governments can accelerate electrification by including DRE in national energy policies and rural electrification plans, integrating DRE in energy system planning, and instituting collaborative DRE stakeholder policy design.

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