Nick Butler: Technology has reshaped the energy market over the past decade. The development of shale gas and oil in the US has transformed the pattern of international trade and reduced prices. The reduction in the cost of producing renewables has begun to make wind and solar competitive without subsidies. And advances in battery technology have made electric vehicles a viable challenger to internal combustion engines. But the advances in off-grid technology – the ability to deliver electricity without the need for a link to a centralised grid – could prove to be even more influential in shaping the market of the next decade. On the World Bank’s estimates, some 840m people still have no access to electricity and 3bn rely on polluting fuels such as wood and dung to heat their homes and cook their food. The good news is that technology is beginning to reduce those figures, giving millions of people each year access to energy that can light their homes, provide clean drinking water and allow them to participate in the trading economy. But the advances in off-grid technology will have an impact well beyond the relief of poverty.
FT 29th July 2019 read more »