Carnegie Mellon University
June 08, 2020

Electricity for all

EPP Assistant Professor Destenie Nock recently led a study outlining a more equitable model of electricity planning in developing regions like Liberia.

Organizations like the World Bank imply that equality is an important aspect of their goals for expanding electricity access in developing countries. Yet few studies have actually addressed how to ensure equality in developing areas like sub-Saharan Africa. 

Nock has led the first study to “explicitly integrate a stakeholder’s preference towards equality into an electricity planning problem.” In her study, Nock chose to use an opportunity-focused model that recognizes that people’s demand for electricity often rises as supply grows and new opportunities emerge. 

“I am interested in incorporating more voices and objectives into electricity planning,” said Nock. “Traditional models are focused on developing low-cost systems, which is very important, but there are many more objectives—like equity, climate mitigation, and justice—that should be incorporated into energy systems planning.” 

Through their methodology, Nock and her team demonstrate that investment in an interconnected power system is key for equitable electrification planning in developing countries. Their opportunity-focused approach eliminates the urban bias of prior least-cost approaches and is widely applicable in countries with little to no electricity access.

To learn more about Nock's study, go here.