Energy poverty: how to make modern energy access universal?
Making energy supply secure and curbing energy's contribution to climate change are often referred as the two over-riding challenges faced by the energy sector on the road to a sustainable future. This report highlights another key strategic challenge for the energy sector, one that requires immediate and focused attention by governments and the international community. It is the alarming fact that today billions of people lack access to the most basic energy services, electricity and clean cooking facilities, and, worse, this situation is set to change very little over the next 20 years, actually deteriorating in some respects. This is shameful and unacceptable.
Lack of access to modern energy services is a serious hindrance to economic and social development and must be overcome if the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be achieved. This report - which presents the results of joint work of the IEA, UNDP and UNIDO - investigates the energy-access challenge. We estimate the number of people who need to gain access to modern energy services and the scale of the investments required, both in the period to 2015 and over the longer term, in order to achieve the proposed goal of universal access to modern energy services by 2030. We also discuss the implications of universal access to modern energy services for the global energy market and the environment and health. This report includes an Energy Development Index and a discussion of the path to improving access to modern energy services, as well as financing mechanisms and the implications for government policy in developing countries.
The focus of this report is on expanding access to modern energy services at the household level. This is but one aspect of overcoming energy poverty. Other aspects include providing access to electricity and mechanical power for income-generating activities, the reliability of the supply to households and to the wider economy and the affordability of energy expenditure at the household level. These other aspects of energy poverty are areas for future research in the World Energy Outlook.