Mobilizing Technology and Business Models to Close the Energy Gap

Winter Forum 2019: All Systems Go!

Billions of people lack access to the reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy systems that form the backbone of job creation and broader economic growth.

How this shortfall is addressed over the coming decades will have resounding impacts on broader development outcomes, the environment, and U.S. and global security. From solar and batteries to telecom and mobile money, technology is enabling new approaches and business models for solving the energy access challenge.

This Winter Forum put students in the center of solving global energy poverty. The event was designed to deepen our understanding of what electricity access means for people and communities without it, how access is intertwined with other development challenges, and ways countries and communities are moving forward to address it. The Forum was also a workshop to develop your personal skills related to negotiation, influencing, and story telling. We built conceptual frameworks for these skills and then put theories into practice by applying them in different energy access contexts.

Students were asked to take the lead in creating a masterplan for rural electrification for the imaginary country of Wodala. Teams had to negotiate competing stakeholder interests, consider country-specific context, and build a plan that would appeal to a panel of international financiers. In just three days, all the teams did a fantastic job negotiating, crafting and presenting their proposals before the judges. The winning teams were photographed with President Price, who stopped by to support the students taking time out of their winter break to learn more about the energy access challenge!


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