Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta
In July 2012, India experienced the worst blackout in its history, plunging 670 million people – about 10 percent of the world’s population – into darkness and bringing energy security into headlines around the world. India’s inability to guarantee energy supply is seen as a major factor hindering its development. Companies depend on reliable energy and are thus hesitant to invest in countries where security of supply is questionable (Sharma et al. 2012; Harris and Bajaj 2012). News coverage of the blackout linked energy access to long-term development. If India’s system is vulnerable to such a massive shut-down, how can domestic and international companies be expected to invest and thrive in India, and without this investment, how will India raise the standard of living for its citizens? While developed states also have electricity blackouts, India’s energy disaster highlighted the severity of energy security problems in the developing world and invited debate on the best strategies for enhancing energy access. In this chapter, we focus on energy issues and related strategies of particular relevance to the developing world. These tend to emphasize increasing electricity access for the larger population and long-term economic development for the state. These primary concerns, along with limited financial and military resources for energy security, shape the strategies developing countries can and do employ.
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