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About 1.5 billion people have no access to electric power—whether clean, dirty or somewhere in between. So in declaring it the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All,” the United Nations gave 2012 a very tall order. To help fill it, they’re encouraging governments worldwide to join forces with the private sector.
At a UN Summit Meeting in New York yesterday, a group of 12 big electric companies announced plans to bring cleaner power to people living in far-flung, often off-grid places. In their report, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (previously dubbed e8) laid out guidelines for creating private-public partnerships. They call for governments, private companies, academic institutions, international organizations and local communities to come together to develop energy projects with low-to-zero carbon emissions.