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‘The post-Paris roadmap must include the world’s most energy isolated’ – Announcing WGSI's OpenAccess Energy Summit

Monday, April 4, 2016

OpenAccess Energy Summit convenes top minds and next-generation leaders from more than 20 countries to lead the way

WATERLOO, ONTARIO, CANADA – The Paris Agreement will be signed on Earth Day (April 22), opening a new era of possibilities for renewable energy technologies. Despite decades of global efforts, 1.1 billion people still live without electricity, and another billion have unreliable access. The International Energy Agency’s most optimistic scenario predicts that the number of people without electricity in the year 2030 will remain above 1 billion.

This sobering statistic is the impetus behind the Waterloo Global Science Initiative's (WGSI) OpenAccess Energy Summit, to be held at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada from April 22 to 27, 2016.

“We have to approach this issue differently than we have for the past 50 years,” says Jatin Nathwani, OpenAccess Energy Summit’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy at the University of Waterloo. “We need breakthrough thinking that can crush the energy isolation that leaves the world’s most vulnerable people with no pathway to improved health, education and economic opportunities.”

The third summit from WGSI, which is a partnership between Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo, OpenAccess Energy brings together a multinational, multidisciplinary and multigenerational group of approximately 40 people to develop an actionable framework for addressing electricity provision for energy isolated communities. Half of the room is made up of young leaders age 30 and under. Their conversations are anchored by the OpenAccess Energy Brief which provides an overview of energy access issues that identifies challenges, knowledge gaps and opportunities. 

“This is my second Summit with WGSI,” says Summit Curator Dr. Michael Brooks, a quantum physicist, journalist and author of At the Edge of Uncertainty and Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science. “I’m confident that the unusual format, where we dive deep and fast from a variety of different viewpoints, is going to produce some really fresh thinking once again.” 

OpenAccess Energy Participants

Summit contributors hail from 22 different countries and four of Canada’s First Nations. They represent a range of organizations including ARC Finance, Ghana’s Ashesi University, Barefoot College, D. Light Design, Enda Energie, Grameen Shakti, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, INSEDA, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Lumos Energy, MIT, Oxford University, Practical Action, Promethean Power, Samsø Energie Academie, University of California at Berkeley, University of Waterloo, and more.

Visit for a full list of participants.

Public Programming

While the Summit’s working sessions are private, a range of free, public programming brings discussion of the topline issues to audiences in the local community, across Canada and around the world. Speakers include Dan Kammen of University of California Berkeley, Samsø Island’s Søren Hermansen and 2007 TED Global Fellow, William Kamkwamba.

TVO, Ontario’s public educational media organization and the summit’s presenting media partner, will broadcast The Agenda with Steve Paikin from the Summit venue during the week and will make the programs available at Visit for more information and to register for free tickets to The Agenda at WGSI.

Journalism Fellowship

A collaboration between WGSI and Discourse Media, the Access to Energy Journalism Fellowship awarded fellowships to nine journalists from around the world to produce long-form written feature articles and multimedia narratives investigating issues of energy access in their country/region. By supporting journalists around the world to report on energy access in their regions, the AEJF aims to shed light on related problems and investigate potential solutions. 

About WGSI’s Previous Summits

Energy 2030

In June of 2011, Energy 2030 brought visionaries and experts together to create a technological roadmap for a low-carbon, electrified future. Download the Energy 2030 Blueprint.

Learning 2030

In September 2013, experts working in education globally convened to propose the most effective high school environment for the teenagers of 2030. Download the Learning 2030 Blueprint.

About WGSI

Founded in 2009, Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) is a non-profit partnership between Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo. The mandate of WGSI is to promote dialogue around complex global issues and to catalyze the long-range thinking necessary to advance ideas, opportunities and strategies for a secure and sustainable future through our Summit Series, Blueprints and Impact Activities. Learn more at

For more information contact

Hayley Rutherford
Content & Programming Manager
Waterloo Global Science Initiative
T +1 (519) 569-7600 ext. 7613
[email protected]


WGSI’s #PowerShiftWR Events

Visit to reserve free tickets to all #PowerShiftWR and TVO events.
Sign up for livestream reminders at

April 22, 2016
7 pm EDT Keynote: How I Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
With William Kamkwamba
April 23, 2016  
10 am EDT Wind Design Challenge Workshop (ages 10-12)
Presented by TREC Education Only 30 spots available!
1:30 pm EDT Family Energy Fair
Family-focused activity session and community energy fair
Tickets - 1:30 Entry Tickets - 2:00 Entry
4 pm EDT Keynote: Going 100% Renewable
With Søren Hermansen
7 pm EDT Film screening: Fractured Land Post-screen chat with Caleb Behn Tickets


OpenAccess Energy Summit Events – online only

April 22, 2016
2 pm EDT OpenAccess Energy 2030 launch Opening Panel with Jatin Nathwani, WISE; Rachel McManus, EarthSpark International; Ian Howard, Schneider Electric     

Keynote by Dan Kammen, C
lass of ‘35 Distinguished Chair in Energy, University of California, Berkeley

Live streamed at
April 27, 2016
2 pm EDT OpenAccess Energy Communiqué The recommendations of the summit participants are presented Live streamed at


TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin

April 24, 2016
2:15 pm EDT The Agenda with Steve Paikin – “Indigenous Power Struggle Tickets
April 25, 2016
6:15 pm EDT The Agenda with Steve Paikin – “Ending Energy Poverty Tickets
April 26, 2016    
6:15 pm EDT The Agenda with Steve Paikin – “An Energy Miracle Tickets