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Choosing Between Utilities and Food

Electricity is essential for poverty reduction, economic growth, and higher living standards. However, a billion people are still without power. Hundreds of millions more are affected by unreliable or expensive power, which is a major impediment to economic development in emerging economies.

  • Those who are still without electricity service are either remote, poor, or both. Poor communities in cities are largely unserved. Many of these poor people live in informal settlements, which can be difficult to serve with permanent infrastructure.
  • Extending the main grid can be prohibitively expensive for remote households. Even using off-grid systems to serve these dispersed populations can be costly.
  • One of the most significant barriers to extending grid-based electricity is a lack of sufficient power generation capacity, poor transmission and distribution infrastructure, high supply costs to remote areas, or simply a lack of affordability for electricity.
  • Poor policies, insufficient regulations, a lack of planning and institutional support, a lack of financing for off-grid entrepreneurs, and affordability for poorer households are the most significant challenges for off-grid electrification, including mini grids.

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