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.


BP Releases Energy Outlook 9/14/2020

BP Releases Energy Outlook

Payne Institute Fellow Michael Cohen, Chief U.S. Economist and Head of Oil Analysis at BP, produced the Energy Outlook that explores the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2050 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition. The global energy system is likely to undergo a fundamental restructuring in order to decarbonize, which will create challenges and opportunities for the industry. Three main scenarios – Rapid, Net Zero, and Business-as-usual – provide a range of possible outcomes to understand the range of uncertainties ahead.  September 14, 2020. 



Payne Fellow Todd Moss, Morgan Bazilian, Jacob Kincer, and John Ayaburi write about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 that commits the world to ending energy poverty by “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.” The dominant measurement of progress against SDG7 is the access rate, which measures the number of people with basic household electricity. There is no accepted international indicator for reliability. A new approach will help to fill this gap. September 8, 2020.

Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World Sustainable Energy 8/31/2020

Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID World Sustainable Energy

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was a co-author on the Second Consultative Science Platform of the IIASA-ISC “Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID-19 World” that aims to harness the transformative power of crisis to imagine a more sustainable world. The authors gathered with a focus on science -to deliberate on the following overarching questions: How should COVID-19 and related stimulus and/or recovery packages be directed to build back better to create the maximum impact on the  transition to sustainable development; and how can a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitalized energy system make our society more resilient? How can the ability of science, policy and governance systems be enhanced to rapidly respond to unforeseen shocks? August 31, 2020.

CSIS Energy 360° Podcast – Getting to Reliable Electricity Access 8/31/2020

Energy 360° Podcast – Getting to Reliable Electricity Access

Payne Institute Advisory Board Member Sarah Ladislaw and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) host Morgan Bazilian for a podcast to discuss energy access globally and some of the metrics used to measure access. The Payne Institute recently released ‘Measuring “Reasonably Reliable” Access to Electricity Services,’ which provides an in-depth view of the gaps in global electricity access and how quality of access matters as much as quantity.  August 31, 2020.

Can Distributed Nuclear Power Address Energy Resilience and Energy Poverty? 8/19/2020

Can Distributed Nuclear Power Address Energy Resilience and Energy Poverty?

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Morgan Bazilian write about the three major energy challenges that are driving national and international energy decision making. First, the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Second, despite recent progress, many communities in both developed and developing countries remain in energy poverty or lack reliable, low-cost energy services. Finally, due to climate-amplified natural disasters and other threats, the reliability and resilience of energy systems is an increasing public concern. Existing distributed energy resources (DERs), especially solar photovoltaics and battery storage, are attempting to address each of these issues. However, more and faster progress is needed. Recent innovations in advanced nuclear designs could make nuclear power a distributed energy solution for the first time. As a dispatchable and resilient energy source, distributed nuclear could complement and accelerate the ongoing distributed energy revolution.  August 19, 2020.

Measuring “Reasonably Reliable” access to electricity services 8/19/2020

Measuring “Reasonably Reliable” access to electricity services

Payne Fellow Todd Moss, Morgan Bazilian, John Ayaburi, and Jacob Kincer write that while the electricity access rate is regularly measured in most countries, there are no routinely tracked metrics that measure reliability. This paper presents a new approach that: (1) aggregates all available country data on reliability; (2) defines a minimum threshold metric for ‘reasonable reliability’; and (3) estimates the number of people without ‘reasonably reliable’ electricity services. We estimate the number of people without access to reliable electricity is approximately 3.5 billion. This new metric provides a more granular view of the enormous energy access gap globally, and insights for future investment and policy decisions.  August 19, 2020.

Spatially variable taxation and resource extraction: The impact of state oil taxes on drilling in the US 8/5/2020


Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Peter Maniloff, Jason Brown, and Dale Manning estimate the responsiveness of nonrenewable resource firms to taxes on output using spatially explicit data from the oil sector in the United States. Using a model of resource firm capital allocation over space, we show that responses to spatially-varying taxes differ from responses to equivalent changes in the common output price. A larger response to tax rates occurs because the tax change only affects the returns to drilling in a single state, whereas a price change affects both the returns to drilling in a state and the opportunity cost of not drilling in other states.  August 5, 2020.

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For more information about the Energy & Development Initiative at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, please contact our Strategy and Operations Manager, Gregory Clough, at