Tag archives for energy poverty

Loan guarantees have been around since at least the 1940s, when the U.S. government backed loans for homes, farms and businesses for World War II veterans. More recently, the U.S. government has used loan guarantee programs to support the development of clean energy. Projects including the large Ivanpah solar facility in California’s Mojave Desert, a…

National Geographic helped advance the cause of sustainable energy for off-grid communities by crowning the winners of the Terra Watt Prize — the first competition of its kind — on June 11 in Washington, D.C. As torchbearers for cleaner, safer, and cheaper energy alternatives for the global poor, co-champions Mera Gao Micro Grid Power (MGP)…

More than 1.3 billion people, or approximately one-fifth of the world’s population, live without access to an electrical grid. That is roughly five times the number of people living in the United States, a country that is so plugged-in that access to electricity is all but taken for granted. In places without electricity, kerosene has…

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost asserted that “good fences make good neighbors.”  World history is replete with foreign policy built around physical walls, from Emperor Hadrian, to the Great Wall of China, to the Berlin Wall, the wall between Palestine and Israeli, to the U.S.-Mexico border.  Containment and isolation have often been the…

Two years ago, the band Linkin Park kicked off an initiative called Power the World with the goal of bringing clean energy to one million people. It started in partnership with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All program, which aims to achieve universal energy access by 2030. (See related post: “Linkin Park’s Bid to…

In last night’s episode of the NBC post-apocalyptic drama, Revolution, each of the characters faced the consequences of the risky alliances they made in their struggle to survive in a world without electricity. That world—complete with water-borne disease, warlords, and refugee camps—is a reality for many of the 1.2 billion people who live each day…

The recent news of President Obama’s $7 billion program to bring electricity to 20 million households and businesses in six sub-Saharan nations in Africa is both timely and strategic, as electricity is foundational to economic growth and is the linchpin — the most fundamental critical infrastructure — of modern society. The news also served as…

In a finding that confirms the devastating health impact of energy poverty, the landmark Global Burden of Disease study published today tallied 3.5 million annual deaths from respiratory illness due to burning of wood, brush, dung, and other biomass for fuel. Cooking on traditional cookstoves is a far greater risk factor than poor water and…

Every night, something unusual happens in Samuel Kimani’s home on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Samuel, 48, lives with his wife Mary and their three children. Their family supports itself day-to-day through their main source of income, their cow Baraka, whose milk is collected daily and sold directly to customers for about $1.80 a day.…

More than two years after the 2010 earthquake that left Haiti in rubble and displaced 2.3 million people, recovery has been slow in coming. Hundreds of thousands are still living in camps such as Corail-Cesselesse, a relocation area set up in the aftermath of the quake. And the cholera outbreak that has taken nearly 7,000…

In North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang, pictured above last year on May Day, light radiates from Juche Tower, the monument built to commemorate the 70th birthday of ruler Kim Il Sung in 1982. But that power did not flow to the nation’s people. Among the deprivations that marked the nuclear-armed era of Kim’s son,…

Former U. S. President Dwight Eisenhower was particularly fond of the saying, “plans are nothing; planning is everything” to describe his desire for teams in his administration to carefully describe what they hoped to achieve, and how far and fast they were moving to actually achieve those goals. The analytic tools were useful, but what…

What will it take to foster and spread the ideas and practices needed for sustainable development? One thing that has stirred innovative thinking are the positive results of recent prize competitions. Perhaps the most notable of these–so far–has been the Ansari X Prize. The Ansari X Prize was a space competition in which the X…

Energy poverty cripples development prospects. Where people don’t have access to modern energy services, like reliable electricity, their ability to earn a livelihood is sabotaged. That’s why UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called — admirably — for “a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all” in 2012, designated the International Year of Sustainable…

The international talks that take place each year on climate change—stalled as they are—always get a lot of attention. There’s been less focus on an important United Nations event underway this week—Vienna Energy Forum 2011. Energy ministers and vice ministers from 40 nations are gathered in Austria to address the challenge of bringing electricity and…

Almost 400 million Indians—about a third of the subcontinent’s population—don’t have access to electricity. This power deficit, which includes about 100,000 un-electrified villages, places India’s annual per-capita electricity consumption at just 639 kilowatthours—among the world’s lowest rates. The access gap is complicated by another problem: more than three-quarters of India’s electricity is produced by burning…

For Africa’s poorest families, lighting is often the most expensive item in their budget, typically accounting for 10–15 percent of total household income. The energy poor in Africa spend about US$17 billion a year on fuel-based lighting sources.  To put the full energy sector in perspective, independent estimates place worldwide spending on fuel-based lighting in…