Leveraging the Trilemma: the promise of integrated electrification planning

Posted on 27 April 2017

As part of this years United Nations Sustainable Energy For All (UNSEforAll) Forum, the World Energy Council hosted a Partner Session on ‘leveraging the trilemma | the promise of integrated electrification planning.’

The UNSEforAll event on 2 April was one of a series of Energy Trilemma events that the World Energy Council is organising this year to stimulate a global dialogue on the sustainable integration of distributed energy resources into existing power systems.

The session, moderated by Christoph Frei, the Council’s Secretary General, focused on the fundamental shift in thinking that is required from governments, regulators, producers, consumers and the finance sector to ensure a sustainable transition. The workshop explored near-term needs and opportunities for the deployment and integration of distributed energy resources and measures required to accelerating the SEforAll goals.

From the session emerged that a key for the success or failure for the deployment and integration of distributed energy resources includes well designed policy, the ability to deploy technology at a scale to ensure economies of scale as well as the availability of educated staff.

The speakers moreover agreed that availability of capital is not an issue for innovative small scale off-grid businesses. However, to develop the scale that is required to progress on the SEforAll goals scale is required that will require a change in thinking across the sector.

From the session moreover emerged that equity issues are at the core of a sustainable integration. When developing from a centrally organised power systems, in which distributed energy resources are emerging, fair pricing is required to avid equity issues that could jeopardise the sustainability of the power system in the long run. On the other hand, equity issues need to be addressed pre-emptively in systems that are predominantly off-grid and decentralised when thinking about future grid connections.


The event on “leveraging the trilemma | the promise of integrated electrification planning”, moderated by Secretary General Christoph Frei, featured a number of key speakers including Dipal Chandra Baruna, Founder and Chairman Bright Green Energy Foundation Bangladesh; Xavier Helgesen, Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder Off Grid Electric; Hillary McMahon, Managing Director Econet; Barry Worthington, Executive Director U.S. Energy Association; Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Executive Director, Sustainability and Brand and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize; as well as Neha Misra, Co-Founder & Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister, USA.

Events have been held in South Africa and North America. Future events that are part of this global dialogue are scheduled to take place in Europe, Latin America and Asia in the coming months.

Findings from this global dialogue will contribute towards the next Trilemma report to be released in autumn 2017.