IEA: An electrified world would cost $31B per year to achieve

IEA finds the investments needed to provide universal access to electricity is a fraction of what's spent on energy in total every year.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 19, 2017 at 7:25 AM
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Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The investments necessary to provide electricity for the entire world population is less than 2 percent of total energy investments, the IEA said Thursday.

A report from the International Energy Agency, published Thursday, finds that providing universal access to electricity within 13 years would require an investment of $31 billion per year, which the report said was less than 2 percent of total global energy investments.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said countries like India, one of the largest economies in the world, have taken the investment decisions necessary to become one of the "biggest success stories ever in electrification.

Since 2000, India has provided electricity access to a half billion people.

The Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank last month backed $500 million in government-backed loans and another $500 million in non-sovereign support for the Power Grid Corp. of India. The two loans support grid systems in western and southern India that deliver solar and wind energy across the grid.

An August report on India's energy sector from the International Renewable Energy Agency found the government could save on health-related costs and create more jobs while at the same time seeing the demand for coal and oil products drop between 17 percent and 23 percent by 2030.

Worldwide, Birol said "the good news is that a convergence of political will and cost reductions is accelerating progress."

The pace of development in Southeast Asia means electricity consumption is on pace to grow by more than 8 percent each year for at least the next 10 years and the emerging economies in the region are searching for new ways to access power. In Myanmar, only about 30 percent of the country's rural population has access to a reliable source of energy and the government needs to build up the grid for 40,000 villages to meet its goal.

The IEA said fossil fuels, mainly coal, have been the main source of new power since 2000, renewable energy is gaining ground. In the last five years, more than a third of the new sources of electricity came from renewable energy.

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