SE4All – needs a “new and transformative strategy”

The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative has committed to achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 under. “Transforming the world’s energy systems will lead to new multi-trillion-dollar investment opportunities to eliminate energy poverty, integrate and balance conventional and renewable energy sources, address climate change and enhance prosperity in developed and developing countries alike.”

The challenge is daunting: 22 countries in the Africa Region have less than 25 percent access, and of those, 7 have less than 10 percent access. Most of the papers written on this are pessimistic.  Population growth will outstrip the new supplies and they argue that “Unless there is a big break from recent trends” the population without electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to increase by 58 percent, from 591 million in 2010 to 935 million in 2030.   They lament that “more than 40 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 14 years old—if the current level of investment in access continues, yet another generation of children will be denied the benefits of modern service delivery facilitated by the provision of electricity.”

The World Bank states that “Achieving universal access within 15 years for the low-access countries (those with under 50 percent coverage) requires a quantum leap from their present pace of 1.6 million connections per year to 14.6 million per year until 2030.”

The language is a call for a something other than business as usual.  The World Bank conceives this as a step wise change in investment – requiring considerable investment.   It estimates that the investment needed would be about $37 billion per year, including erasing generation deficits and meeting demand from economic growth.  “By comparison, in recent years, low-access countries received an average of $3.6 billion per year for their electricity sectors from public and private sources”.  The document calls for Bank Group‘s energy practice to adopt a new and transformative strategy to help country clients orchestrate a national, sustained sector-level engagement for universal access.

Decentralised energy storage funded by the current expenditure on biomass – thats my suggested new and transformative strategy that will massively increase access to reliable modern energy.

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