13% of the world’s population still has no electricity access today. International agencies such as United Nations (UN), World Bank Group (WBG), and International Energy Agency (IEA) aim to achieve universal electricity access by 2030. How close are they in reaching this goal?

Electricity is a primary necessity and is as important as having access to clean water in every household. It lights up our houses at night and allows us to use appliances that make household chores a lot easier. More importantly, electricity involves running different industries such as schools, medical facilities, banks, and engineering which greatly contribute to a country’s economic growth.

Achieving universal electricity access is essential for solving many global issues which include education, health, water supply, and of course economy. Small energy generators or storage systems called mini-grids are seen as a viable solution in achieving universal electricity access especially to low-income countries such as sub-Saharan African and Asian countries.

Mini-grids are the most cost-efficient energy technology to distribute electricity to rural areas which mostly suffer from lack or unreliable power supply. However, many governments are still unwilling to execute mini-grids because the project requires an enormous amount of money. According to the International Energy Agency, a total of $300 billion is needed to close the electricity access gap by 2030.

To pursue the project, governments should have credible plans and policy frameworks to attract mini-grids developers in their countries. This includes creating economies of scale to ensure that the power supply will reach rural and isolated areas which would make electricity affordable for the majority of the citizens. Offering accessible and affordable electricity increases demands but needs commercial debts to fund the project.

The goal of achieving universal access to electricity has made significant progress these past years especially in Asia, particularly in India. This year India declared that every village in the country is now connected to electricity grids. Kenya in Africa also had a significant achievement as it increased its electricity access from 8% in 2000 to 73% this year.  

For the first time in decades, the number of people in the world without electricity access fell below one billion. 940 million people of the global population still have no electricity access with 600 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa which is 57% of their total population. There is still a huge gap to fill, but as we see significant progress in Asia it is not impossible to achieve the universal electricity access that we are all rooting for.

Author's Bio: 

Isabella Whitmore is an aspiring researcher and a writer about health, environment, households, and appliances. You can find some of her work at https://electrickettlesplus.com, an appliance website that offers energy saver electric kettles.