A third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to affordable electricity, and that presents us with one of the development conundrums of our era – how to deliver energy for everyone without destroying the climate in the process. Part of that is leapfrogging technologies that will see countries in the global south adopt renewable energy first time around, rather than building coal or gas power stations. Another aspect is richer countries reducing their energy use.
The current definition of ‘modern energy access‘, as used by the International Energy Agency, is 100 kWh per person per year. The image below, which is from the Center for Global Development, shows how far that amount of power would last us in different parts of the world. An American would use that in three days, a European in five. The average Ethiopian would use that much power in two years.
For more on delivering affordable energy, see The Poor People’s Energy Outlook.