Developing countries’ demand for infrastructure, including roads, electrical grids, and public water systems, is growing rapidly. Building and maintaining that infrastructure requires energy, but how much?

Roads, electricity, and water pipes: these public systems supply basic needs to millions of people. Where infrastructure is poor, the people are likely also poor. How does infrastructure need to expand to meet basic needs in developing countries? And how will that growth contribute to energy use in the near future? IIASA researchers are working to figure out just how much energy use will increase as infrastructure grows in developing countries. 

In trying to model how much energy people will use in the future, researchers must account for future growth in public infrastructure systems. In developing countries, infrastructure is likely to grow immensely in the next 20 years. According to one estimate,  three-quarters of the power supply for 2030 is yet to be built. But because infrastructure is a resource shared by many people, it is difficult to estimate how much is required, or predict how quickly it will be built. It is also challenging to ensure that access is equitable.

IIASA researchers are studying these questions using the MESSAGE-Access model, input-output analysis, econometric modeling, and material flow analysis.