Although 400 million people around the world have gained access to electricity since 2010, progress is still too slow to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of supplying “affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all” by 2030.
“The progress we have seen over the last few years is encouraging,” said Riccardo Puliti, senior director for energy and extractives at the World Bank, with the number of the world’s citizens with no access to electricity falling from 1.2 billion to 840 million in less than a decade.
“But we still have a great deal of work to do, as much of this population lives in the poorest countries and most remote locations. The successes in several countries in Africa and Asia show the way. This report demonstrates the importance of sound planning, integrating grid and off-grid approaches, a focus on affordability and reliability, and addressing gender inequalities.”
While countries like India, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Myanmar have made solid progress on energy access since 2010, Forbes reports that present trends would leave out 650 million people, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, by 2030.
“Renewable energy and energy efficiency are key to sustainable development, enabling energy access, spurring economic growth, creating employment, and improving health,” said Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. “We can extend the energy transition to all countries and ensure that the benefits reach the most vulnerable communities.”
Energy is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. SDG 7 calls for countries to ensure universal electricity access by 2030, substantially increase renewables in the global energy mix, double the global rate of improvement for energy efficiency, boost international cooperation on clean energy research and technology, and expand and upgrade sustainable energy infrastructure and technology.
Forbes says the latest update highlighted four areas: electricity access, better options for the nearly three billion people without access to clean cooking in 2017, the rise of renewables, and energy efficiency improvements.