The Future of Energy Systems in Developing Countries

The Pardee Center created an interdisciplinary research program focused on understanding the current state of energy systems in a select number of developing countries, the options leading to secure, yet sustainable, energy futures in those countries, and the trade-offs that decision-makers will need to navigate to achieve a stable and secure power supply. Low-carbon development aimed at both sustainable development and climate change mitigation – principally through sustainable energy transitions – has become key in international policy imperatives. In the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the seventh of the 17 goals (SDG7) mandates countries to ensure universal energy access and, at the same time, increase renewable energy penetration and improve energy efficiency. Meanwhile, governments also agreed to reduce emissions from the energy sector and to transition towards low-carbon economies through the Paris Agreement on climate change, which provides a new framework for global climate change mitigation.

This Pardee Center research program, led by former post-doctoral associate Laurence Delina, examined a variety of factors – including available technology, financing mechanisms, societal support, and geographic realities – to try to determine the best options for achieving energy security and sustainability in the global South. Since 2016, Delina has written four books and guest-edited, with former Pardee Center Director, the late Anthony Janetos, a special issue of the journal Energy Research and Social Science (Vol. 35, January 2018) consisting of 24 papers on the futures of energy systems. His latest book, published in May 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan, is titled Emancipatory Climate Actions: Strategies from histories. Delina has also been publishing outputs of this program in high-impact journals and handbooks, and releasing opinion pieces in various outlets, including in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bangkok Post, and Jakarta Post.