How disruptive electricity technology could be revolutionary

This state of knowledge paper discusses the possible impact on power sectors in developing countries, particularly those of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, of ‘disruptive technologies’ – that is, technologies which pass tipping points at which they become so cheap they spread very rapidly. Such tipping points are analysed, their relation to energy transitions discussed, and some principal disruptive technologies are described and related to prospective tipping points.

The paper then discusses some implications for policies and institutions. Finally, some suggestions for further research are outlined, given how rapidly the situation is evolving. As the paper notes, at this stage of the technology cycle, there are more questions than answers.

Jonathan Walters