IEA report highlights energy poverty challenge

22 September 2010 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has outlined the cost of tackling energy poverty in ‘Ending Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal’.
About 1.4bn people lack access to electricity while 2.7bn rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, according to the joint report, produced in co-operation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The report sees the key challenge as the traditional use of biomass for cooking, on which 80 per cent of the population of Sub-Saharan African rely. While 15 per cent of the world population still lacks access to electricity, their total should dip to 1.2bn by 2030, even without new dedicated policies, finds the report.
Meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015 would take an investment of $41bn in 2010-2015 to provide electricity to another 395m people and access to clean cooking facilities to 1 billion, according to the joint report.
While universal access to modern energy services by 2030 would take an additional investment of $756bn, achieving this goal would only push up electricity generation by 2.9 per cent and CO2 emissions by 0.8 per cent over a scenario based on current policy commitments, said the report.
A special excerpt from the IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2010, the report was presented on the sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in New York.
The full WEO 2010 report is due to be released on 9 November, 2010, but the energy poverty report can be downloaded here.