Universal access to modern energy could be achieved with an investment of between 65 and 86 billion US dollars a year up until 2030, new research has shown.
The proposed investments are higher than previous estimates but equate to just 3-4 per cent of current investments in the global energy system.
The findings, which have been presented today, 3 May, in IOP Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters, also include, for the first time, the policy costs for worldwide access to clean-combusting cooking fuels and stoves by 2030.
Access to electricity and clean-combusting cooking fuels and stoves could combat the estimated four million deaths a year from household air pollution caused by traditional cooking practices.
In their study, the researchers calculate that improved access to modern cooking fuels could avert between 0.6 and 1.8 million premature deaths in 2030 and enhance well being substantially.
The international group of researchers estimate that an additional generation capacity of between 21 and 28 gigawatts would be required to provide a modest amount of electricity to all rural households. This is less than the annual additions to generation capacity being made by China alone. They estimate this will cost around 180 to 250 billion dollars over the next 20 years with dedicated policies and measures also needed.
Added to this will be the policy costs to help ease the transition to clean cooking for more than 40 per cent of the world’s population. The policies would include subsidies supporting the costs of new fuels, new stoves, and improved biomass stoves. The researchers estimate the costs to be in the region of 750 to 1000 billion dollars over the next 20 years.
Lead author of the paper, Dr Shonali Pachauri, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, said: “Our analysis indicates that without new policies and efforts, universal access to modern energy will not be achieved by 2030. Actually, for cooking, the situation may even worsen.
“The scale of investment required is small from a global perspective, though it will require additional financing for nations that are least likely to have access to sources of finances. But the benefits could be enormous.
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