Sustainable energy power opportunity. Yet just under one billion people – one in seven people globally – lack electricity to light their homes, refrigerate their food or conduct business. An even larger number of people – roughly three billion – rely on dirty biomass fuels such as charcoal, coal and animal waste for cooking.
These statistics are unacceptable. Without access to modern energy, it will not be possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for reducing poverty, improving public health and broadening the reach of education. To cite just one example, replacing outdated cook stoves and open fires with modern energy services would save the lives of 800,000 children who die each year as a result of exposure to indoor air pollution.
Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for closing these energy gaps universally by 2030.
Twenty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia have the biggest gaps in electricity access and clean cooking access. Recent research shows that investment for clean cooking and electricity access in these high-impact countries is far short of spending needed to deliver universal access by 2030.
Finance flows for electricity access in 14 Sub-Saharan African countries was especially low. Spending on decentralized renewable energy solutions, such as household solar systems and solar mini-grids, were also miniscule.
Overall spending on clean cooking access is an even bigger challenge – with annual spending in the 20 high-impact countries averaging just $32 million a year, compared to an overall investment need of over $4 billion a year.