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1 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, says World Bank

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$100b required to achieve universal access to power 

The latest report by the World Bank has revealed that about 1.1 billion people in the world still live without electricity supply. The report, tagged “Progress Toward Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015”, also stated that although the world is heading in the right direction to achieve universal access to sustainable energy by 2030, it needs to move faster.

The World Bank however linked the progress to developments in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia which occurs mainly in urban areas.

The report also said almost 3 billion still cook using polluting fuels like kerosene, wood, charcoal and dung. While picking up steam, it urged that renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements will need to accelerate dramatically.

The report is the second in a series that tracks the world’s progress toward SE4All’s three goals of universal energy access, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix – all to be met by 2030.

While the first edition, released in 2013, measured progress between 1990 and 2010, this edition focuses on 2010 to 2012.

“In that two-year period, the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.2 billion to 1.1 billion, a rate of progress much faster than the 1990-2010 period. In total 222 million people gained access to electricity during this period, higher than the population increase of 138 million people.

” It stated Howevr, the global electrification rate increased from 83 per cent in 2010 to 85 per cent in 2012.

But there was less progress on access to clean cooking fuel with 2.9 billion people still using biomass fuels like wood and dung. Most of this population clustered in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and eastern Asia.

On the positive side, it noted that the share of modern renewable energy (from sources including hydro, solar and wind energy) grew rapidly at four per cent a year during the tracking period. “Modern renewables made up 8.8 percent of total global energy consumption in 2012.

Still, to meet the 2030 SE4All objective, the annual growth rate for renewable energy needs to be closer to 7.5 percent,” he said.

Senior Director of the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice, Anita Marangoly George: “We are heading in the right direction to end energy poverty, but we are still far from the finish line.

We will need to work a lot harder especially to mobilize much larger investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Leveraging public finance to mobilize private capital is imperative in achieving this goal,” The report makes key recommendations for global policymakers and stakeholders, including: tripling energy investments from the current level.

It added that annual global investments in energy will need to scale up from roughly $400 billion at present to $1trillion-$1.25 trillion.

Of that, between $40 billion and $100 billion annually is needed to achieve universal access to electricity. Universal access to modern cooking fuels, by contrast, requires just $4.3 billion a year.

Besides, adoption of modern methods of measuring energy access is another important factor, adding that traditional measures of energy access, such as presence of a household electricity connection, mask vast differences in the quality of energy services.

Countries with lower capacity will need access to state-of-the-art clean energy technology and associated knowledge, as well as transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable energy.

Also, the. Countries are enjoined to address the linkages between energy and other development sectors.

“Energy is closely linked to other sectors of key importance to global development, including water, agriculture, gender and health. Better understanding these linkages will be critical to achieving SE4All and other development goals.

For example, using water more efficiently often cuts electricity consumption, as lower water demand reduces the need for pumping and treating water; water efficiency is also energy efficiency,”


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