More than 60 attendees from 15 countries gathered May 9-11 for the second annual meeting of the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI) at Duke University. SETI, founded in April 2016, is an interdisciplinary global collaborative that aims to foster research on energy access and energy transitions.

More than 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy. This lack of access has profound effects on human health, local and regional economic prosperity, and environmental quality. SETI brings together researchers working on these energy challenges, especially those faced by low- and middle-income countries.

“It was created to generate knowledge about how access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy impacts economic development, and what society can do to facilitate that transition,” said Subhrendu Pattanayak, professor at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and member of the management committee for the Duke Center for International Development (DCID). He coordinates SETI with Marc Jeuland, assistant professor of public policy and global health.

The meeting included a number of research sessions on topics such as the adoption of improved energy technologies, impacts of grid electrification, and policies that drive the global energy transition.

It also featured a daylong practitioner workshop to enhance the dialogue between the academic and the policy communities, with the goal of informing both evidence-based practice as well as policy-relevant scholarship. The workshop was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the Environment for Development Network, and the Project on Access & Transitions to Sustainable Energy at Duke.

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