Leaders highlight how energy services help generate jobs, improve education and health, enable businesses to grow, and create huge new markets
Energy is an enabler for achieving human and economic development goals. The extent of such development is also shown by strong relationships with energy access and delivery in countries. The billion plus of the global population without energy access not only have been deprived of opportunities, but also represent a huge new market for products and services waiting to be tapped for mutual gains. Even at low service delivery levels (e.g. Tier 1), studies have shown tangible results towards women’s empowerment, access to education, especially of girls, and higher levels of service delivery show also results in health care and employment access and growth across a spectrum of countries. Rapid access rollout in several countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa is being constrained by many barriers including financially weak utilities and risks for substantial private sector engagement.
Recent advancements in decentralized renewable energy technologies and business models now offer the potential to deliver lower tiers of affordable and reliable energy access at a faster pace. The accelerated delivery of decentralized solutions can provide some, if not all, of the social, economic and development benefits - or Energy Access Dividends - that may otherwise be forfeited during the time taken to deploy higher levels of energy access (i.e. through the national grid). Targeted approaches and innovative financial solutions are underway but more needs to be done to ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind in the realization of the SDGs and access for all by 2030.
Timely access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services is fundamental for progressing all aspects of development. SDG 7 can help accelerate the achievement of many of the SDGs, including 3 on health, 4 on education and 5 on women – achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, among many others. Energy services open up new opportunities that improve livelihoods, enable businesses to grow, help generate jobs and create new markets. It can empower women, reduce their vulnerability to violence and free up time for more productive opportunity. With smart development, it can help build the resilience of economies to