Reports, Case Studies & Assessments

Powering cities in the global south: How energy access for all benefits the economy and the environment


This working paper is part of the larger World Resources Report Towards a More Equal City, which views sustainabilityas composed of three interrelated issues: the economy, the environment, and equity. It uses the equitable provision of urban services as the premise for examining whether meeting the needs of the under-served can improve the other two dimensions of sustainability.

This paper looks not only at how to improve energy services for the under-served, but also at how various solutions to the access challenge could impact the city’s overall economic and environmental well-being. It takes the stance that expanding access to modern energy sources and systems to include the poor and marginalized is not in conflict with action to mitigate climate change. 

While energy is often considered outside the purview of cities, the paper argues that energy is a fundamental urban issue and that cities have a large and essential role to play in providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy to all their residents.