Energy and Development

Providing Access and Growth

Energy has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in the economic development of the world’s major emerging economies and other developing countries. Increasingly, these countries will serve as the centers of energy-demand growth and energy investments. As such, the decisions they make about how to develop their energy sectors will be important to not only their own development but also in determining future levels of energy consumption, fuel choices, patterns of trade, and other factors. These countries are influenced not only by their own domestic priorities, policies, and regulations, but also by the international investor and donor communities. Several major shifts are taking place in the energy and development landscapes that warrant increased attention from policymakers, academia, and the private sector.

In late 2016 and early 2017, the CSIS Energy and National Security Program conducted research and held workshops to understand these changing dynamics and determine the key questions facing the energy and development sectors about how best to facilitate sustainable strategies for further growth. The initial focus of these workshops was on expanding access, but the issues addressed extended beyond this important poverty-alleviation aspect to broader development objectives. This report summarizes our findings and proposes additional areas for further research. It is structured as follows:

  • Overview of the shifts in global energy demand, particularly the emergence of developing countries as the drivers of future energy demand
  • The opportunities for the private sector presented by this shift in the energy landscape to emerging economies
  • The increased focus on energy access and the international goal of universal access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency
  • The influence of sustainability and climate change considerations on energy production and use in developing countries
  • Specific actions to enhance the role of energy in promoting sustainable economic growth in developing countries.
Energy will remain central to future efforts to promote further economic and social growth in developing countries. The public and private sectors have a shared interest in maximizing the economic growth generated by their energy investments and in devising strategies to take advantage of new opportunities that emerge.
Sarah Ladislaw

Sarah Ladislaw

Former Senior Associate (Non-resident), Energy Security and Climate Change Program
Philippe Benoit
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Energy Security and Climate Change Program