HUNDREDS of millions of people worldwide will still be without electricity in 2030 unless governments and development banks spend more on renewable energy, a report from Tearfund has warned.
Published last week, the study Pioneering Power suggests that continued investment in grid electricity, powered by fossil fuels, will result in failure to achieve the UN Global Goal of access to affordable and clean energy for everyone by 2320. Ahead of the spring meetings of the World Bank, the report calls for “three-quarters of spending on energy access to go to off-grid renewables like solar”.
It says: “Faster progress is needed. Under a business as usual scenario, almost 700 million people will still be without access to electricity in 2030, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. That is equivalent to double the population of the UK and USA combined.
“Off-grid renewable electricity, especially solar, provides the most viable way to ensure that everyone has access to electricity in rural areas.”
The report argues: “Countries in Africa and Asia need reliable energy to power economic development, and off-grid renewable electricity offers new ways to provide reliable sources of energy. African and Asian countries also have the opportunity to become world leaders in renewable energy.”
It draws on case studies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Tanzania, and finds that off-grid renewable energy “provides the most viable way to ensure that everyone has access to electricity in rural areas”.
Tearfund’s head of advocacy, Paul Cook, said last week: “People need electricity to get out of poverty. Solar energy gives people new options and improves their health. We need to change the current path and see a shift from fossil fuels to ensure that everyone living beyond the grid has power.
“For vulnerable remote communities to have clean, affordable, and safe electricity, we need to see governments and the World Bank scale up spending on energy access, with three-quarters going to off-grid renewables like solar.”