Review of research on energy use impacts in low- and middle-income countries

 October 29, 2020

Approximately 3 billion people live in energy poverty or have not made the transition to clean or sustainable energy. Marc Jeuland and Subhrendu Pattanayak led a systematic review of the social science literature of the impacts of low- and middle-income country energy interventions and transitions. The research team screened 80,000 papers and analyzed 3,000 quantitative articles that considered the impact of access to energy on both development and environmental outcomes.

The study, “Is energy the golden thread? A systematic review of the impacts of modern and traditional energy use in low- and middle-income countries,” is published online in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. It revealed much consistency in the significance of many impacts, such as negative effects of traditional cooking and fossil fuel use, and also found that energy transitions often have harmful effects on health and the environment. It highlighted important knowledge gaps such as the lack of studies in Sub-Saharan Africa, on the impacts of solar energy, and on understanding the effects of different energy transitions on gender equity, public services, industry and on local ecosystems. There is a gap between what is being evaluated and the types of programs and policies that are now being implemented.

The review was a project of the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative. Sanford alumni Faraz Usmani PhD'19 and alumna Yating Li PhD’19 were also co-authors.


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