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CGD Policy Blogs

 

My Top Three Videos about Energy and Development: Rosling, Gates, and Pritzker

Energy is a colossal development issue, touching on virtually every aspect of human progress from health and education to job and wealth creation. Modern energy access got its own Sustainable Development Goal (#7). Here are my three all-time favorite videos about the power unleashed by delivering energy to people—and what we can do about it.

US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity Than El Salvador Does In a Year

At this time of the year, sparkling trees and decorated lawns have taken over. A 2008 study from the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that decorative seasonal lights accounted for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption every year in the United States. That’s just 0.2% of the country’s total electricity usage, but it could run 14 million refrigerators. It’s also more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal, or Cambodia.

Three Energy Hopes for the G-20

“Energy Sustainability” is high on the agenda for the G-20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, next week. In practice, this means the governments of the world’s leading economies will pledge to continue the laudable goals of phasing out inefficient subsides and boosting energy efficiency. But the meatier agenda is two wonkier research items. According to the Turkish presidency priorities communiqué (PDF), the G-20 will “study the reasons behind the high cost of renewable energy investment and examine the deployment of public and private resources to fulfill the need for energy investment.”

Why Is DfID Pushing Solar-Only When Africans Say They Want On-Grid Electricity?

Yesterday the UK government formally launched its much-awaited Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate electricity access for rural Africans. In a surprise move, DfID’s new plans include only support for small-scale solar power solutions. Typically these systems provide just enough power for a LED light bulb or two and a cellphone charger (see here and here for a few DfID favorites).

MCC Serves Up a Half-Baked Compact

MCC will soon ask its board of directors to vote on a proposed $473 million second compact for Tanzania.  The program focuses on the energy sector, making it a big deliverable for Power Africa.  It’s also strongly aligned with the priorities of Tanzanian citizens, businesses, and the government.  But, as the compact currently stands, there are some pretty significant gaps, making it hard for the board to know just what it’s approving.  Most notably, it’s completely lac

Half an Electrify Africa Bill: Better than None!

Power Africa has the potential to be a game changer for US foreign assistance and for how the United States works with Sub-Saharan Africa. Congressional authorization is needed to solidify Power Africa beyond President Obama's tenure. That’s why we were thrilled to see Electrify Africa pass the House last year (297-117) with bipartisan support and see nearly identical texts introduced this year in both the House andSenate (S. 1933 and H.R. 2847). Yet it was a disappointment to see that the bill dropped the key language related to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) as introduced earlier this year. 

Here’s a Better Way the SDGs Can #LightTheWay to End Poverty

A campaign to rally public support for the Sustainable Development Goals is calling upon people to #LightTheWay to fight poverty. It’s a lovely image: millions of people holding “candles, lanterns, and torches!” to urge world leaders as they meet in New York to make commitments to make the world a better place. Light is a symbol rich in religious connotations and evocative of human progress.

DFID’s “Energy Africa” Campaign Launch: Three Fast Facts, One Bad Idea, and at Least One Way Forward

On Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of State at the Department for International Development, kicked off DFID’s Energy Africa campaign at an event hosted by the Shell Foundation designed to help his team figure out how the UK government can invest its political clout and an initial £30 million ($46 million) to tackle rural energy poverty in Africa. Given solar’s limitations and these risks, how can we make sure that Energy Africa fulfils Minister Shapps’s ambitious brief?

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