Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
Environmental Studies Program
Joshua Slotnick , Steve Seibert
energy, development, international, climate, electricity
University of Montana
Environmental Studies | Other Civil and Environmental Engineering
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 in the form of peer-reviewed journals, agency reports, news articles, and technical documents; stakeholder interviews; and on-site observations in selected case studies in Nepal, India, and Tanzania. In each case I explored and classified methods of electrification; challenges facing each method; and the larger political, cultural, and economic contexts of the projects in question. The full range of considerations precludes drawing broad generalizations regarding effective and sustainable approaches to rural electrification. I address questions raised by these case studies regarding the role of off-grid electricity globally. The sought-after silver bullet does not exist; instead, sustainable electrification requires unique, bottom-up approaches specific to each local community and environment. Ultimately, the diversity of methods is an advantage in a rapidly changing energy climate.
McDonough, Peter, "The Next Billion: Lessons in off-grid electricity development from the global south" (2016). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 10732.
© Copyright 2016 Peter McDonough