Energy Poverty Entraps Economy In Developing Countries

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Courtesy of Greenshine New Energy LLC

Energy Poverty is lack of access to energy services, mainly electricity for basic needs such as lighting and cooking.  Prevalent in the developing countries, the situation is inversely related to the well-being of almost 1.3 billion people worldwide.  Around 95% of Sub-Saharan and developing Asia’s population and 84% of their rural dwellers lack access to grid either because the grid cannot reach them or because the government cannot provide them! Yet it never caught attention-- as did HIV or population growth. Surprisingly energy poverty escapes attention when climate change stands as a major global challenge!

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), 2.6 billion people cannot afford clean cooking facilities. They use unhealthy forms of energy such as diesel, kerosene and wood to cook and keep warm. Apart from depleting woods and fossils fuels, they are dangerously adding to the net carbon emission.  A WHO study reveals that indoor pollution killed around 1.2 million and another 1.6 million suffer from Tuberculosis (due to biomass cooking). Not cooking alone, lack of access to electricity hinders economic, social, even moral development. Schools, hospitals suffer the most. 90% of Sub-Saharan primary school-going children put up with no power! World Energy Outlook argues, energy access have direct consequences on economic development. When people are deprived of this energy access, energy poverty brings home all other kinds of poverty, proving it the worst kind.

American industries lay 30% on electricity, UK 17% and China 70%. Africa affords 45% industrialization out of electricity. This statistics clearly points out how desperately Africa needs electricity provision for their weak economy.

Desperate attempts by different countries to overcome energy poverty started to rise up. World Bank (WB) targets 100% access by 20 deprived countries of Africa and developing Asia by 2030. The developing countries can overcome the problem with the help of developed countries and giant private companies. They can come forth to invest in the renewable sector—creating fields for wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric and nuclear for deprived.

UN Energy mission and WB works in five major lines of action to alleviate the crisis-- Capacity and policy formation, project financing, advising and R&D. Many other recent achievements add to African Solar and Hydro projects. Middle of 2013, US president launches Power Africa, an electricity generation scheme to double the people with power access. China shows the biggest success among developing countries through photovoltaic cells, producing ~20,000MW in 2013. Many countries depend on biomass as cheap fueling means while scientists strive to produce the least carbon out of it. Hydroelectric is another promising sector promoting India, Bangladesh and Pakistan with ~105,925GWh of electricity. Africa started to build its biggest Hydropower plant in 2013 capable to electrify half its demand.

Recent years’ achievements shine bright; but we need to think brighter! Population growth outwits energy deliverance every second. World energy statistics fears that 85% of the world population  will have energy poverty by 2030. Desperate measures need to be taken to produce energy; better if that done clean and green!    
 

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