by Morgan Bazilian
One hundred years before the advent of modern power systems, William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell argued with the Devil asserting that “Energy is Eternal Delight”. That delight however, remains beyond the reach of the two to three billion of people disadvantaged by a lack of modern energy services—a number that has remained relatively unchanged over recent decades. This is arguably the most disturbing of insights from an examination of global energy-use trends, and a simple, clear justification for a political prioritisation of the issue. It is widely accepted that a lack of access to energy services is a fundamental hindrance to human, social, and economic development. Addressing it comprehensively would have enormous multiple benefits. However, current efforts are woefully insufficient in scale, scope, and design, and attempting to address the issue solely as part of wider poverty reduction policies is likely to be sub-optimal. We discuss energy policy (with a focus on energy security) as an effective vehicle for large-scale action in providing modern, clean energy services. To this end, we outline specific and limited examples of where international cooperation could play a role supporting national actions and ensuring universal access.
The full paper is available on ScienceDirect: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.06.007