World Can Have Power, Cleaner Stoves for $48 Billion Annually, IEA Says

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The world’s entire population can have electricity and cleaner stoves by 2030 if $48 billion is invested each year, the International Energy Agency said in its first estimate of the cost to end energy poverty.

The sum is about the same as the combined annual capital spend of Europe’s two biggest oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and BP Plc (BP/), and five times the $9.1 billion that was invested in 2009 to boost energy access in developing nations. There are 1.3 billion people, or 20 percent of the world population, living without electricity and 2.7 billion that lack clean cooking facilities, the IEA said.

The obstacles to providing modern energy access to everyone are surmountable and national governments should publish targets and provide more seed capital to incentivize private investors, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said in an interview from Paris.

“Providing energy for all is crucial for social and economic development, and beyond that it’s a moral obligation,” he said. An illustration of the inequality is that 791 million people in sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa use about as much energy each year as 19.5 million people in New York State, Birol said, citing IEA data.

Judy Mirangoh burns fuels in her house in the Kenyan village of Wanyororo to make heat and light because she has no electricity. Her mud-walled home is less smoky since she replaced her traditional wood-burning fire with a cookstove earlier this year, helping her wallet and her health.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)