A Changing Climate
By 2050, the world will consume 61 percent more energy than it does today. This should be good news, for, as access to reliable, affordable energy increases, so does the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. Energy keeps schools and businesses running, computers working, cities shining, and cars moving. Without the availability of energy, the global poverty rate could not have dropped by more than half since 1990, allowing the opportunity to improve lives across a wide sphere.
Extending Progress to the Developing World
The developed world has seen great progress in renewable energy. Today, in the United States, virtually all new additions to power capacity come from sustainable sources. However, much of the future energy demand in the world will come from developing countries as they continue to grow and add more citizens to the middle class. This is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that we face today. How can we ensure that the most threatening climate change consequences are avoided, but also ensure equitable access to energy? The answer, of course, is renewable energy, and the attendant electrification of products and services once serviced by fossil fuels.
The Leapfrog Effect
Unlike the United States, many developing countries do not have a centralized energy infrastructure. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, almost 600 million people lack access to electricity and rely on burning biomass and fossil fuels such as kerosene. Although this notion seems outmoded, it actually presents a unique opportunity. Due to the special economic and geographic nature of many of these countries, they have the ability to completely skip primary dependency on the centralized grid and instead develop stand-alone solar storage systems and microgrids.
Walking the Walk… to Africa
As a Founder at DBL Partners, I have been involved with many companies working on promising energy solutions. I only wish there were many more to choose from. Given the scope of this huge problem, there should be hundreds if not thousands of companies around the world exploring different approaches. Here at DBL, we’re walking the walk when it comes to stepping up and doing more. After 10 years of impact investing in the U.S., last year we took the plunge and made our first international investment in a Tanzanian company called Off Grid Electric (OGE). Having been at the forefront of investing in the American solar industry, DBL mitigated the risks on this African Investment by using lessons gained from over 15 years of experience in the space.
Read more from Nancy E. Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, posted in the July/August 2016 issue of the GreenMoney Journal: http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com/july-august-2016/the-future-of-energy-its-the-developing-worlds-turn-to-shine/