How COVID-19 Is Reversing Energy Access in the Global South
Since the start of the pandemic, 100 million people have lost access to electricity. The off-grid renewable energy sector needs urgent support if progress towards the UN’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal, to ensure energy access for all, is to be maintained.
According to the World Bank, around 760 million people live without electricity, one billion more suffer from unreliable electricity for their homes and businesses, and 2.6 billion still have no access to clean cookstoves.
The UN’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims to ensure ‘access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ by 2030. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, is causing potentially irreparable damage to that ambition. Intermittent lockdowns across the Global South have undercut incomes among the poorest communities, meaning demand for off-grid renewable electricity and clean cooking products has withered and people have regressed to candles and firewood. The companies selling those products have also been hit by supply chain disruptions, pushing up the prices of commodities and components, and forcing many out of business.
Photo courtesy of andreas160578.