Rural electrification remains a critical development challenge in low-income countries – one that promises great social benefits while simultaneously risking substantial environmental damage. Given that conventional energy systems rely heavily on fossil fuels, increasing access to electricity for the 1.3 billion people still living without it could lead to very large increases in local and global pollution. To date, there is very limited evidence regarding the impacts of electrification in low-income countries, although these are the households that will drive most of the medium-term growth in global energy consumption. Our challenge, then, is to determine how best to harness the benefits of rural electrification while minimizing environmental costs. This talk will summarize ongoing research that aims to shed light on both sides of this critical trade off.
Catherine Wolfram is Cora Jane Flood Professor of Business Administration at the Haas School of Business and a researcher at the UC Energy Institute. Her research focuses on the economics of energy markets.
She has studied the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets and the effects of electricity industry privatization and restructuring around the world.
She received a PhD in economics from MIT. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University.
The seminars are held in in the Banatao Auditorium of Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, and box lunches are provided *with registration*.
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