Energy & Development

Supporting developing economies in establishing sustainable energy systems and reducing energy poverty around the globe

Supporting developing economies in establishing sustainable energy systems and reducing energy poverty around the globe

Accelerating a transition to a radically different, and inclusive, energy system is a generational challenge. The poorest three-quarters of the global population still use only about 10% of global energy. Giving power to the poor through effective energy and development is a key factor in ensuring vibrant economic development around the world.

Access to modern energy services has been called the “golden thread” of development. As nations develop, energy demand continually increases as does the need for further infrastructure.

The Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines and our partners are focusing on the interconnected impacts of energy development on markets, trade, security, geopolitics and environment in creating vibrant industrialized societies. We are together creating a home for global discussion on the issue of energy and development.

NEWS

Climate Change: Toward a More Resilient Africa 11/29/2022

Climate Change: Toward a More Resilient Africa

Payne Institute Fellow Jamal Saghir and Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez write about how the impacts of the climate emergency continue to intensify in Africa, compounding and amplifying other crises. Africa can still prosper and thrive in a world of climate change. This development is dependent on understanding, preparing, and adapting to oncoming climate impacts.  November 29, 2022.

How to Avoid a New Cold War Over Critical Minerals 10.22.2022

How to Avoid a New Cold War Over Critical Minerals

Payne Institute Fellow Cullen Hendrix writes how to prevent a return to the zero-sum logic of Cold War resource politics, critical mineral supply chains must be widened at every step. Will the 21st century be the century of the green great game? In the early 20th century, then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill oversaw the conversion of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy from coal- to oil-powered ships. Oil was comparatively more energy-dense, easier to transport, and allowed ships to travel farther faster. But the transition to oil-fueled navies in the 20th century meant that, for the first time, projecting military might would require most major powers to rely on energy sources over which they were not sovereign. November 22, 2022.

Uncertainties about climate compensation fund trigger skepticism 11/22/2022

Uncertainties about climate compensation fund trigger skepticism

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how a newly agreed “loss and damage” fund in which developed countries would pay for climate damages suffered by vulnerable developing counterparts lacks both details and actual funding, raising question about whether it’s merely a symbolic breakthrough.  November 22, 2022.  

Retiring Coal? The Prospects Are Brighter Than They Appear 11/17/2022

Retiring Coal? The Prospects Are Brighter Than They Appear

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as COP27 draws to a close, the conference is proving to be a disappointment for environmental advocates focused on eliminating the planet’s number one emitter: coal-fired power. In the tumult of international uncertainty, governments have looked to coal as a security blanket of sorts. Coal’s ability to deliver power 24/7 compares favorably to some renewable energy, like solar and wind, that is variable and, at least to some degree, unpredictable.  November 11, 2022.

A New Paradigm for Managing Mineral Trade Routes in Africa 11/16/2022

A New Paradigm for Managing Mineral Trade Routes in Africa

Payne Institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the African Copper belt is a major supplier of key minerals such as Copper, Nickel, and Cobalt to the world economy. Extracting and transporting these minerals to market will be essential to the success of the energy transition as demand for solar and wind energy, and battery metals soar exponentially over the next three decades. In contrast, the dismal state of road infrastructure for transporting the minerals from mine to port creates a major impediment to the commercial competitiveness of miners in the region and threatens economic rents accruable to host countries and communities. This commentary describes a new paradigm that could radically transform the design of solutions to ease logistics problems in the region.  November 16, 2022.

MOVING BEYOND ‘ALL OR NOTHING’: FINDING THE PRAGMATIC MIDDLE GROUND ON GAS IN AFRICA 11/15/2022

MOVING BEYOND ‘ALL OR NOTHING’: FINDING THE PRAGMATIC MIDDLE GROUND ON GAS IN AFRICA

Payne Institute and Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems student researcher Bonnie Powell, Program Manager Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how Europe’s energy crisis is aggravating a decades-old tension between the developed and the developing world. As wealthy countries increase natural gas imports (including from Africa), many of them are maintaining policies that restrict development finance for gas-fired infrastructure projects in poorer nations. This hypocrisy is not lost on African leaders.  November 15, 2022.

The Mining Gap: Critical Minerals and Geopolitical Competition 11/7/2022

The Mining Gap: Critical Minerals and Geopolitical Competition

Gregory Brew and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how this year’s COP-27 conference carries with it the weight of the climate challenge, an enormous threat facing humanity, but also comes at a time of growing volatility in global energy markets, rising energy prices, a food security crisis, and war. As a result, countries both rich and poor will be focused on immediate security and economic threats.  November 7, 2022. 

Africa’s Energy Transition & Critical Minerals 11/3/2022

Africa’s Energy Transition & Critical Minerals

Payne Institute Critical Minerals Research Associate Caitlin McKennie and student researchers Al Hassan Hassan, and Mama Nissi Abanga Abugnaba write about how as the energy crisis perseveres and governments around the world attempt to meet net zero emission timelines, there are many eyes on Africa’s natural resource supply. Africa is resource rich. The continent is endowed with significant hydrocarbon reserves and critical minerals required for low-carbon technologies. As political and environmental developments around the world seek to decarbonize supply chains, pivoting investments over time towards critical minerals in Africa can help and bridge the gap between emerging/developing economies and energy security.  November 3, 2022.  

Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future 10/24/2022

Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future

Payne Institute Advisory Board member Youba Sokona and other authors write about how aligning development and climate goals means Africa’s energy systems will be based on clean energy technologies in the long term, but pathways to get there are uncertain and variable across countries. Although current debates about natural gas and renewables in Africa are heated, they largely ignore the substantial context specificity of the starting points, development objectives and uncertainties of each African country’s energy system trajectory. Here they—an interdisciplinary and majority African group of authors—highlight that each country faces a distinct solution space and set of uncertainties for using renewables or fossil fuels to meet its development objectives.  October 24, 2022. 

Supporting a Just Energy Transition through Alternative Funding Strategies for African Hydrocarbon Developments 10/18/2022

Supporting a Just Energy Transition through Alternative Funding Strategies for African Hydrocarbon Developments

Payne institute ESG Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how Africa contains significant amounts of hydrocarbon reserves that contribute extensively to state revenue and facilitate social and economic development. The growth prospects for these African countries are however under threat as international financial institutions reduce their funding for hydrocarbon developments in response to global warming and its adverse effects.  The paper reemphasize the importance of hydrocarbon resources to African development and present alternative funding strategies that can minimize disruptions to growth and are consistent with notions of a just energy transition.  October 19, 2022. 

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For more information about the Energy & Development Research Area at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, please contact our Deputy Director, Gregory Clough, at gclough@mines.edu.