How can disruptive technologies help us close the energy access gap and spur economic opportunity?
Advanced energy efficiency is a far larger opportunity than commonly supposed, especially for the countries and people most in need of energy access. Efficiency leapfrogs make renewable deployment far faster and cheaper, and can strongly leverage national development by freeing power-sector capital for other needs. Together, efficiency and modern renewables can tip even such large economies as China and India from power scarcity to surplus in just a few years, prestranding assets still under construction. Avoiding this trap requires foresight and agility as the competitive landscape shifts monthly while institutions evolve generationally. Many developing countries are more at risk from overbuilding power plants, overbuying power contracts, and overdepending on old solutions and foreign owners than from relying on build-as-you-need, pay-as-you-go, modular, granular, modern, bottom-up, homegrown, and rapidly adaptive strategies.