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GSR 2015 - State of Energy Access in Rural Areas

103 05 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT 05 DISTRIBUTED RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR ENERGY ACCESS In sub-Saharan Africa, girls are more likely to die from breathing the fumes and smoke from indoor cooking fires than from malaria or malnutrition.1 In South Asia, a woman living in a rural area typically spends about 40 hours per month collecting cooking fuel.2 In parts of northern Asia, some villagers are too poor to purchase charcoal in the winter for cooking.3 And, in many regions, the lack of electricity and modern energy services can hamper healthcare and educational services.4 Roughly one in every seven people worldwide lack access to electricity, and more than two in five depend on traditional biomass to meet their household energy needs.5 For many people, it remains a daily struggle to access energy required to meet very basic needs. In many rural areas of developing countries, connections to central electric grids are economically prohibitiveandmaytakedecadestomaterialise,ifatall.Moreover, grid connectivity does not fully address the need for access to sustainable heating and cooking options. Distributed renewable energyi (DRE) systems offer an unprece- dented opportunity to accelerate the transition to modern energy services in remote and rural areas, by increasing access to sustainable cooking and heating devices; affordable lighting, communications, and refrigeration; education; improved public health; and energy for processing and other productive activities. These objectives can be achieved by establishing and strengthening institutional, financial, legal, and regulatory support mechanisms for renewable energy deployment. In turn, these mechanisms can help by improving access to financing, developing the necessary supply-chain infrastructure, and building awareness about the challenges posed by a lack of access to sustainable energy sources and the potential of renewable energy.6 An array of viable and cost-competitive options can provide reliable and sustainable energy services. Technologies available include isolated small-scale electricity generation systems and mini-grids for lighting, battery charging, communications, water pumping, and other productive uses. They also cover renewable energy systems for space and water heating, cooling, and clean cooking. Innovative, modular, sustainable, and locally relevant DREsolutionsareavailabletomeettheenergyneedsofindividuals and communities, while also increasing energy security, lowering fuel-related costs (including fossil fuel subsidies), enhancing the educational skills of the labour force, easing the burden of collecting fuelwood, and avoiding harmful emissions from kerosene lamps and inefficient stoves.7 This section seeks to provide a picture of the current status of DRE markets in developing countries and to present an overview of the major networks and programmes that were operational in 2014. n STATE OF ENERGY ACCESS IN RURAL AREAS According to the most recently available data (as of early 2015), approximately 1 billion people, or 15% of the global population, still lack any access to an electricity grid.8 Approximately 2.9 billion people lack access to cleaner forms of cooking.9 Those living without electricity and clean cooking options are scattered around the world; however, more than half of those without electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa, and the region with the largest share lacking clean cooking is South America.10 (p See Figures 35 and 36.) The lack of electricity and clean cooking solutions remains primarily a rural issue, with 139 million people in urban areas lacking electricity, compared to 941 million in rural areas. Likewise, about 400 million people who lack clean cooking are in urban areas, compared to 2.4 billion in rural areas.11 (RSee Reference Tables R20 and R21.) The raw numbers portray little about emerging trends, however. While the figures look bleak, the situation of electrification is improving. From 1990 to 2012, the global electrification rate climbed from 75% to 85%.12 Numbers and trends also differ by region. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 620 million people, or more than two-thirds of the population, live without electricity, and 730 million people depend on polluting forms of cooking.13 While the African continent is home to about 1 billion people, only 4% of global electricity is generated there. With a total installed capacity of roughly 147 GW, Africa has less power generation capacity than Germany.14 All 47 sub-Saharan countries (excluding South Africa) have a combined installed renewable generation capacity of only 23 GW, which is less than one-third of the total renewable power capacity installed in India..15 In addition, as the population is rising, the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa without access to clean cooking also has risen—by about 2.7% per year between 1995 and 2012—despite increases in GDP per capita. This trend is expected to continue.16 Northern Africa and the Middle East have made notable progress in electrification and access to modern energy services. Apart from Yemen (where 40% of the population lacks access), countries in the region are fully or almost fully electrified. Yet the provision of access to electricity is a challenge particularly i - For the purpose of this section, “distributed renewable energy” refers to energy systems 1) that are relatively small and dispersed (such as small-scale solar PV on rooftops), rather than relatively large and centralised; and 2) for which generation and distribution occur independent from a centralised grid. DRE includes energy services for electrification, cooking, heating, and cooling that are generated and distributed independent of any centralised system, in urban and rural areas of the developing world. (RSee Sidebar 9, GSR 2014.)

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