Access to clean energy is #Solvable | Jules Kortenhorst

Access to clean energy is #Solvable | Jules Kortenhorst


Close to a billion
people around the world do not have access to energy. Energy is crucial for their wellbeing and their economic development. That problem can now be solved. I am Jules Kortenhorst, the CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. In Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, people at the bottom of
the pyramid still suffer from a grave injustice of
not having access to energy or being dependent on firewood
collected from far away in order to heat their
homes and cook their meals. People who don’t have access to energy have to stop working
or reading or studying at six o’clock at night. They struggle to cook their food, or they may find themselves
delivering a baby in a hospital at the
light of a flashlight. But we can solve this
problem of energy access through the tremendous advances that we’ve seen in solar
and battery technology. The cost and efficiency of solar is now in a different league from where it was many years ago. Batteries are becoming
more cost-effective, and so is simple mini grids. An electricity system for
a small village or a rural clinic is now
technically feasible, and, even more importantly,
commercially viable. It’s much cheaper to
provide electricity with such a mini grid than
to run out for firewood or to use a diesel generator. The transformation is
happening all around the world. In India, Prime Minister Modi committed to connect every Indian
village to electricity, and mini grids are rolling out quickly. But also, in rural as well as
in urban settings in Africa, mini grids are bringing power to people who didn’t have it before. In order to scale the
access to clean energy for people around the world,
we need to make available standardized mini grids
that are much lower in cost and that are reliable,
that are leveraging information technology to
do the billing, and that can be monitored
and supported remotely. The technologies are there,
we just need to assemble them, procure them at scale, and deploy them. I’m very confident that we are on a path to solve this crisis. The cost of the technology is definitely no longer a barrier. And we’re seeing governments
understand that providing their citizens access through mini grids is
a very viable solution. Imagine a world where every family has access to reliable,
affordable, and clean energy benefiting their economic development, benefiting their education,
benefiting their welfare. We have the technologies,
we have the business models. We just need to get on with doing it.

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