Energy Access Gateway-About
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Today, 1.3 billion people live without access to the energy grid, negatively impacting health, safety, education, the ability to earn a living, and people's overall well-being. The cost is felt heaviest by those people, but the entire world pays for this lack of access.
Though it hasn't received the attention that HIV/AIDS and malaria have received, it is beginning to get recognized as a major global issue that needs to be addressed. The World Energy Outlook Report states the goals of achieving "universal access" included 395 million people gaining access to electricity, along with an additional 1 billion people provided with access to clean cooking facilities.
Six key energy services have been identified as vital for energy access:
- Cooking and water heating
- Space heating
- Information and communications
- Earning a living
Other energy service categorizations exist. Mobility has been omitted on the basis that it is primarily defined by physical links (roads, railways, bridges, etc.) rather than energy access – although such connectivity can help bring fuels and create market access. Water supply (for drinking and irrigation) is another important service often linked with energy, but is omitted as it is more strongly dependent on water resource availability and pipe infrastructure (often gravity flow) than energy. A range of agricultural processing services such as milling and rice de-husking are captured under ‘Earning a living’ since, where energy is actually used rather than hand-tools, it is usually offered as a service at a cost to users.
Universal modern energy access is interpreted by the World Energy Outlook for the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals as meaning that no more than one billion people should be without access to electricity by 2015 and no more than 1.7 billion should still be using traditional biomass for cooking on open fires or primitive stoves. The numbers for 2030 include 100% rural and urban access to the energy grid, and either Liquid Petroleum Gas or advanced biomass cookstoves for cooking.