Opening key note
We are not making progress fast enough to secure sustainable energy for all in the 2030 timeframe we have identified. In 2014, 1.06 billion people still did not have access to electricity and 3.04 billion people lacked clean cooking. Further, the World Energy Outlook estimates that current energy policies put us on track to reach these goals by 2040. By 2030, 780 million are estimated to remain without access to electricity (80% in Sub-Saharan Africa) and 2.3 billion without clean cooking (in Africa and Asia).
Sub-Saharan Africa saw electrification take off after the year 2000, when even small countries started taking major strides. However, while the electrified population increased
by 19 million a year over 2012-14, the population grew even faster at 25 million per year, setting back progress in countries such as: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
While decentralized energy solutions offer opportunities to address this gap, countries are not embracing them quickly or systematically enough. Those that do are making swift progress in reducing energy poverty cleanly and resiliently– but none are doing enough, yet. For example, Afghanistan had a 1% electrification rate in 2000, 50% in 2010 and about 90% in 2014. This has been primarily powered by off-grid energy solutions.
In access deficit countries, there is often a lack of clear electrification plans that help to define clear boundaries between areas which are the responsibility of the utility and those that are open for decentralized (off-grid, micro- and mini-grid) initiatives. Policy can help transform energy access but policies need to take an integrated look at decentralized and centralized approaches – approaches that are new, different, and face hurdles –to allow financing and business models to go to scale and provide confidence to the private sector.