Book of collected essays from world experts released

Opinion pieces from experts tackling the idea of energy as a catalyst for sustainable development – health, food security, education gender equality, governance, security and employment.

Smart Villages: New Thinking for off-grid communities worldwide comprises 16 essays written by scientists and leading thinkers from around the world. 1.3 billion people worldwide still lack access to modern energy, preventing economic development in these communities. The book reviews up-to-date accounts promoting energy access in remote areas of the world. Insights will inform leaders, policy-makers and communicators, as well as encourage a wider debate internationally.

Contributors include Professor Daniel M. Kammen, Professor of Energy at the University of California, Dr Christiana Thorpe, recently retired Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission, Professor Deepak Nayyar, former Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian government, and Professor Benjamin K. Sovacool, Director of the Danish Center for Energy Technologies. The foreword has been provided by Tun Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul Hamid, former Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia.

The volume was compiled by Professor Sir Brian Heap, who says, “we publish these essays with policy makers and decision takers in mind – planners of sustainable off-grid well-being faced with the demanding challenges of lifting the bottom billion out of the poverty trap”. Its publication fits well with the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative ( and the new Sustainable Development Goals, post-September 2015.

Dr Bernie Jones, project co-leader, launches the book at the World Conference of Science Journalists, Seoul, S Korea, June 2015.
Dr Bernie Jones, project co-leader, launches the book at the World Conference of Science Journalists, Seoul, S Korea, June 2015.

The eclectic scope of the book covers a range of viewpoints on the complex problem of energy access in developing countries. On the supply side, it asks, what are the scientific and technological advances of today and tomorrow that could transform the way that energy, particularly electricity, could be made more readily available for rural transformation? On the demand side, what are the enabling factors that make energy access a catalyst for sustainable development in off-grid villages? What framework conditions need to be put in place so that local entrepreneurs can establish enterprises to deliver and make productive use of energy in remote villages, the home of some 1.3 billion poor and underserved?

As Dr John Homes, project co-leader commented from his Oxford office “it is rare for such a diverse and high-profile group of authors to be included in a single volume. We hope that this collection will bring home the importance of coordinated action on the part of governments, private investors and development funders to realise the UN’s vision of sustainable energy for all by 2030. While the challenges are considerable, the potential pay-off in terms of outcomes for the bottom billion could be tremendous.”

Smart Villages: New Thinking for off-grid communities worldwide is published by Banson.

The book is available to view for free at

Printed copies can be ordered purchased through Earthprint (

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