How mini-grids could solve global energy poverty
More than 300 million people in India lack access to electricity, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, twice that many live without power. With population growth forecast to exceed connection rates, “energy poverty” is expected to worsen before it improves.
For decades, rural communities in frontier economies have waited in vain for government-supplied electricity to arrive. But today, new technologies – coupled with cheaper solar panels, better batteries, and mobile payment systems – are changing how power is produced and distributed. With so-called “mini-grids” – smaller, localized power utilities – independent producers can electrify remote communities faster and more cheaply than traditional utilities can. The challenge is convincing politicians, financiers, and vested interests of the value in going decentralized.
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