Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Area of Focus

Social Sciences, Physical and Earth Sciences

Abstract

Today about a third of the world’s population has no access to electricity, and another third has only limited access. Driven by the push for development on one hand and the reality of climate change on the other, a combination of for-profit companies, NGOs, missions, and aid organizations is looking for the silver bullet to sustainable electricity development. In order to understand the challenges facing off-grid electricity projects I used recent literature, stakeholder interviews, and on-site observations to create case studies in Nepal and India. Each explores and classifies the methods of electrification to date, the challenges facing each method, and the national context of a specific site in each country.

This presentation will discuss two seemingly comparable rural electrification case studies across the India-Nepal border. Though they appear similar, economic, cultural, technological, and political considerations make the two scenarios impossible to reconcile under the same theory of electrification. Finally, I will address questions raised by these case studies about the role of off-grid electricity globally. Ultimately the issue may not be one of silver bullets, but of the advantages of diversity in development needs and techniques in a rapidly changing energy climate.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 14th, 2:00 PM Apr 14th, 2:20 PM

The Next Billion: Lessons in Off-Grid Electricity Development from the Global South

Today about a third of the world’s population has no access to electricity, and another third has only limited access. Driven by the push for development on one hand and the reality of climate change on the other, a combination of for-profit companies, NGOs, missions, and aid organizations is looking for the silver bullet to sustainable electricity development. In order to understand the challenges facing off-grid electricity projects I used recent literature, stakeholder interviews, and on-site observations to create case studies in Nepal and India. Each explores and classifies the methods of electrification to date, the challenges facing each method, and the national context of a specific site in each country.

This presentation will discuss two seemingly comparable rural electrification case studies across the India-Nepal border. Though they appear similar, economic, cultural, technological, and political considerations make the two scenarios impossible to reconcile under the same theory of electrification. Finally, I will address questions raised by these case studies about the role of off-grid electricity globally. Ultimately the issue may not be one of silver bullets, but of the advantages of diversity in development needs and techniques in a rapidly changing energy climate.