OpenAccess Energy

Event Date: 
April 24, 2016 to April 27, 2016

This summit, hosted by Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, will address global energy access challenges. WGSI’s summits bring together an multidisciplinary, multinational, and multigenerational group of stakeholders for a four-day intensive event where they develop an actionable framework for addressing a complex global issue. The Summit will be preceded by two days of public lectures on April 22 and 23, 2016.


Sixty years of global efforts directed at mass electrification have failed to deliver reliable access to modern fuels and electricity to approximately one-third of the people on Earth. That is a huge problem: reliance on kerosene, diesel and biomass have negative impacts on economic opportunities, the local environment, health and climate change. There is a compelling need to develop low carbon solutions to address the long term risk to climate change from the use of fossil fuels and meet the growing demand for electricity and energy access. However, if current trends continue, that simply won’t happen.

According to the International Energy Agency’s most optimistic scenario for future energy access, the number of people worldwide without electricity in the year 2030 is projected to remain above 1 billion. In Sub-Saharan Africa the problem is projected to get worse, not better. The fact that population growth is outstripping electrification means that by 2030 the number of people without electricity will have risen by 10% (16% in rural areas) from 2009 levels. 

In any “grand challenge” scenario, many efforts are unknowingly duplicated and valuable ideas are lost in the silos of disciplines. WGSI’s expertise lies in convening facilitated conversations to advance breakthrough thinking. Our goal is to create the necessary space for alignment of different organizations and disciplines to deliver effective solutions. Our organizational impact comes from fostering connections between individuals and stewarding the development of strategic partnerships to meet the global energy access challenge.

Event Details