The career of Douglas Barnes has taken him from his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to Resources for the Future (Washington, DC) and then to the World Bank (Washington, DC). Since leaving graduate school he has worked with multidisciplinary teams on development issues in a variety of countries. The main topics of his work fall under the rubric of household “energy access.” The specific issues include rural electrification and its impact for development, the opportunities to improve lives with renewable energy and the health and environmental implications of using biomass stoves for cooking. His talk will focus the contributions that sociology can have for these complex topics by providing a broad overview of the problems, how his work has been involved in the solutions to such problems and where we are today. His work has been influential for international development institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations, both of which now consider energy access—renamed “energy for all”—as a key factor for eliminating poverty in developing countries.