Access to Energy and Sustainable Development

Jacopo Bonan, Stefano Pareglio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Energy is a key condition to guarantee access to clean water, sanitation, schooling and business in developing countries and represents a key factor for growth and development. From a general point of view, it is still debatable whether access to affordable, reliable, safe and clean energy should be considered a human right or an instrumental right, as fundamental needs may be guaranteed through energy. However, not only the clear correlation patterns between modern energy and economic and human development, but also the strong evidence on the causal relationship of access to modern energy on welfare and quality of life are sufficient elements to clearly underline the crucial role of access to modern energy in sustainable development. Access to modern energy services is intended as the access to electricity and to modern and clean cooking facilities. Access to modern energy may allow reallocation of household time (especially by women and children) from energy provision to improved education and income generation. People can benefit, through better lighting, from greater flexibility in time allocation through the day and evening. It also allows access to IT and media. When combined with other infrastructures, access to modern energy services lowers transportation and communication costs, favors a better access to markets and information. Access to electricity may also improve rural productivity, due to the introduction of technology and therefore may directly contribute to household income and push labor supply in non-agricultural activities. It is also a key element for safer food processing and storage, for example through refrigeration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Many Faces of Sustainability
EditorsS Veca
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • development
  • energy
  • sustainability


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