About 1.2 billion people don’t have access to electricity, 2.8 billion have to rely on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes, renewable energy accounts for 18 per cent of the global energy mix, and the largest energy savings and greatest expansion of renewables happened in China, according to a new report by a multi-agency team led by the World Bank.
The report — compiled by experts from 15 agencies — is the first of a series to monitor progress towards the three objectives of the ' Sustainable Energy for All initiative', launched in 2011 by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
The initiative, whose advisory board is co-chaired by World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, is mobilising a global coalition of governments, private sector and civil society to achieve, by 2030, its three objectives of universal access, doubled renewables and doubled energy efficiency improvement.
The report puts numbers to those three objectives and identifies what needs to change where and how to do it.
"Demand continues to outpace supply of electricity: That electricity needs to be affordable, and generated more and more in a sustainable way, and used more efficiently," said World Bank vice president Rachel Kyte, in launching the report. "To rise to this challenge – to meet peoples’ basic needs and to do so sustainably clearly requires a scale of effort we have never seen before.
"About 80 per cent of those without access to modern energy live in rural areas. Although 1.7 billion people gained access to electricity between 1990 and 2010, this is only slightly ahead of population growth of 1.6 billion over the same period. The pace of expansion will have to to meet the 100 per cent access target by 2030. To bring electricity to that one billion plus people using conventional energy sources would increase global carbon dioxide emissions by less than one per cent.
The reports finds only 'modest' progress since 1990 on expanding access to electricity and clean household fuels, increasing the share of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.
Twenty countries in Asia and Africa account for about two-thirds those without access to electricity, and three-quarters of those who use solid fuels — wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste and coal — to cook or heat their homes.
The study calculates that renewable energy accounted for 18 per cent of the global energy mix in 2010, and that the improvement rate of energy efficiency, described by a compound annual growth rate of energy intensity was - 1.3 per cent between 1990 and 2010.
Twenty 'high-impact' countries identified in the report as accounting for 80 per cent of energy consumption will need to lead the way on doubling the share of renewables to 36 per cent of the global energy mix and doubling energy efficiency.
Decisive action is needed to achieve these goals, the report concludes, including more than doubled energy investments, as well as 'a comprehensive package of policy measures, including fiscal, financial and economic incentives, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and pricing of carbon.'
The report shows that China has recorded the largest energy savings and greatest expansion in renewable energy globally. India has electrified an annual average of 24 million people and provided 20 million a year with access to modern cooking and heating fuels since 1990.
"In the report, we refer to high-impact countries that offer the most potential to make rapid progress towards the goals," said energy sector manager at the World Bank Vivien Foster, who led the report team. "The report suggests that they can draw lessons from the experience of what we call fast-moving countries," he said, adding that China and India fall in both categories. It also calls on countries, international organisations, private sector investors and civil society to increase energy investments focused on the three objectives by at least $600 billion a year until 2030, more than doubling the current estimated $409 billion. The additional $600 billion would include $45 billion for electricity expansion, $4.4 billion on modern cooking, $394 billion in energy efficiency, and $174 billion on renewable energy.