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Achieving reliable, widespread access to electricity will be transformative for many developing countries. It has significant effects on how households apportion their time and which methods and inputs are applied by productive enterprises. However, much of the world’s population remains without this reliable access or the benefits generated from it. This paper outlines many of the questions behind why this remains the case. Each section of the paper covers a specific issue and focuses on what research has found, where research is currently being conducted, and where further research is required. All of this is directed at understanding the forces that are standing in the way of efficient and inclusive energy markets in these developing countries and also what are their root causes.
This paper covers four main topics: (i) improving the reliability of grid services, (ii) rural electrification, (iii) energy efficiency, and (iv) minimizing the external costs of energy consumption. These each address the main outstanding questions on these topics in the economics literature and also the specific questions which the IGC believes are most pressing for sustainable development. Each section also covers the implications of these questions for continuing economic development and , where possible, what the potential ways forward for research are.