Director, Energy Access Project

Jonathan Phillips

  • Jonathan Phillips
    Jonathan Phillips
    Director, Energy Access Project

Director, Energy Access Project

Contact: 919-681-7188, jonathan.phillips@duke.edu

Phillips is the Director of the Energy Access Project at Duke University, with an appointment at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. His work focuses on policy, regulatory, and economic issues related to rural electrification, grid de-carbonization, off-grid energy systems, and energy for productivity.

Phillips was the senior advisor to the president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation during the Obama Administration, helping scale-up the agency’s climate finance capabilities and lead the implementation of strategic initiatives, including the agency’s $2.1 billion Power Africa portfolio.

Before that, Phillips led private sector engagement and programming with Power Africa at USAID, helping ramp-up the $300 million presidential initiative into one of the largest public-private development partnerships in the world.

From 2007-2014, he held a variety of roles in the U.S. Congress, most recently serving as the senior policy advisor to Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. He supported many notable legislative efforts, including serving as one of the lead authors of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in 2009. He also served on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming as well as the House Natural Resources Committee.
Phillips was a business and economic development volunteer with the Peace Corps in Mongolia. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

My Work

Utilities 2.0

Utilities 2.0

Commercial Approaches for Integrating Utilities and Off-grid Models  The power sector debate in many low- and middle- income countries has focused on grid expansion versus off-grid options. However, integration of on- and off-grid approaches to...

An off-grid energy future requires learning from the past

An off-grid energy future requires learning from the past

The more things change, the more they stay the same. EAP’s latest in the Brookings Future Development blog explores the electrification experiences of seven countries, their program costs and the subsidies required to bridge the gap between the cost of providing last-mile electricity and what poorer customers are able to pay.

New Publication: Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 1

New Publication: Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 1

Countries facing electricity access challenges today have more options and potential electrification pathways than ever before, but the initial cost of connecting new rural customers remains an expensive proposition. This brief explores the successful rural electrification experiences of seven case countries—Brazil, Chile, Laos, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Tunisia—looking specifically at the cost of connections and how subsidies and public financing were deployed to address the affordability challenge and facilitate energy access.

New Data and Technologies are Transforming Energy Access

New Data and Technologies are Transforming Energy Access

Technologies like geospatial imagery, machine learning and affordable batteries are generating ever more innovative ways to target customers with off-grid energy solutions. But according to analysts at the Duke University Energy Access Project, public policy is struggling to keep up with these rapid-fire developments, leaving vast amounts of human capacity and productivity untapped. They explore how to address this disconnect between government and the private sector.

The Energy Access Dividend

The Energy Access Dividend

The Energy Access Project at Duke in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and Sustainable Energy For All, have developed an Energy Access Dividend for Haiti and Honduras with the aim of quantifying the electrification benefits forgone over a country’s business-as-usual electrification transition.

Socioeconomic Benefits of Off-Grid Solar: Focus on Productive Uses

Socioeconomic Benefits of Off-Grid Solar: Focus on Productive Uses

EAP’s team members Jonathan Phillips, Rob Fetter and Rajah Saparapa presented their research on the True Cost of Solar Tariffs in East Africa to the Community of Champions. The webinar was organized by GOGLA on the Socioeconomic Benefits of Off-Grid Solar: Focus on Productive Uses.
You can access the webinar slides and recordings below

Funding