This paper is a working draft intended to both set the stage and stimulate discussion at the upcoming EPRI workshop on Global Electrification. The workshop is part of a larger EPRI initiative entitled the "Electricity Technology Roadmap," which explores how electricity can better serve a global society undergoing different stages of economic development. The horizon for the Roadmap, and therefore the workshop, is nominally 50 years out, when global population will probably approach 9 billion people.
The paper looks at the role of energy in the lives of the poorest people in the world, and the changing pattern of energy use as economic development ensues. The data record in this regard is incomplete and often conflicting, although broad trends are discernable. The author approaches the analysis from the bottom up and the top down, using existing micro-level studies of energy use in the home, and macro-level studies of the coupling between energy use, the increasing electrification of energy, and economic development.