We estimate that, in 2009, around $9 billion was invested globally to provide first access to modern energy, but more than five-times this amount, $48 billion, needs to be invested each year if universal access is to be achieved by 2030.
We estimate that, in 2009, around $9 billion was invested globally to provide first access to modern energy, but more than five-times this amount, $48 billion, needs to be invested each year if universal access is to be achieved by 2030. Providing energy access for all by 2030 is a key goal announced by the UN Secretary-General. Today, 1.3 billion people do not have electricity and 2.7 billion people still rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking. The investment required is equivalent to around 3% of total energy investment to 2030. Without this increase, the global picture in 2030 is projected to change little from today and in sub-Saharan Africa it gets worse. Some existing policies designed to help the poorest miss their mark. Only 8% of the subsidies to fossil-fuel consumption in 2010 reached the poorest 20% of the population. International concern about the issue of energy access is growing. The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” and the Rio+20 Summit represents an important opportunity for action. More finance, from many sources and in many forms, is needed to provide modern energy for all, with solutions matched to the particular challenges, risks and returns of each category of project. Private sector investment needs to grow the most, but this will not happen unless national governments adopt strong governance and regulatory frameworks and invest in capacity building. The public sector, including donors, needs to use its tools to leverage greater private sector investment where the commercial case would otherwise be marginal. Universal access by 2030 would increase global demand for fossil fuels and related CO2 emissions by less than 1%, a trivial amount in relation to the contribution made to human development and welfare.