A report from a dozen international poverty and development organizations concludes that building new coal-fired power plants does little to help the poor – and often it can actually make them poorer – in countries where a large percentage of the population lacks access to electricity. The report notes that approximately 15 percent of people in energy poverty already live close to existing electric grids, but variety of barriers block them from connections. This means that for energy-poor families living close to the grid, building new power generation capacity – coal-fired or otherwise – will not help them get connected. For the 85 percent of energy-poor households who live farther away from the grid, decentralized wind turbines or solar panels and mini-grid solutions are much quicker than waiting up to a decade for completion of a new centralized power plant and distribution lines.
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