Brief

The Sustainable Agriculture Transition: How to make the most of transformative technology

This Emerging Issues policy brief focuses on the potential transformative nature of solar photovoltaics and batteries when applied as solar-powered irrigation and is intended to highlight the risks and opportunities associated with these technologies.
By Sophia Murphy, Mali Eber Rose on March 2, 2021
  • It is not just that transformative technologies are new and effective; they also address structural challenges that have defied rural development efforts since industrialization began.

  • The introduction of a low-cost decentralized energy source would bypass the prohibitive costs and infrastructure requirements of connecting remote areas to a regional electricity grid, improving rural communities' access to electricity.

  • Their transformative power rests in their ability to revolutionize food production by raising productivity while improving sustainability.

This policy brief provides a concise overview of the key findings from a recent IISD report, which studied three technologies that could make a significant contribution to the transformation needed. The three technological innovations are: i) off-grid renewable energy systems, made affordable with the significant drop in the cost of solar photovoltaics; ii) the rapid and dramatic improvements in battery technology that has exponentially increased batteries’ usefulness as an energy source; and, iii) the evolution of information and communications technology resulting from the expansion of “big data.”

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