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Breakthrough Dialogues


Apr 22, 2019

It is universally true that all rich countries use a lot of energy. This might make you think about in-home systems: refrigerators, lights, etc. But about two-thirds of the energy in an economy is used outside the home. In the US, a typical, mid-size office building uses a whole megawatt of power; that means Washington, DC’s K street – home to 105 office buildings – sucks up more energy than the entire country of Liberia. Poor countries need not just energy access but energy for growth: utility-scale grid technology.

Todd Moss, Executive Director of the Energy for Growth Hub, entered the world of energy policy through development finance issues, first at the Center for Global Development and then at the State Department. But it became increasingly obvious to him that energy is embedded into every other problem. In today’s conversation, we ask him about the seemingly oppositional goals of energy-intensive climate adaptation and reducing fossil fuel reliance, common misconceptions around the idea of leapfrogging, and why he wrote a four-part fictional book series about the dysfunctional US foreign policymaking process.