United Nations has called on
businesses, governments, and
civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
Featured Resource – December 2017
The “Why Wait? Seizing the Energy Access Dividend” report presents a first-of-its-kind approach to developing a framework for understanding and quantifying the financial, educational and environmental dividends for households through accelerated access to decentralized electricity, such as solar home systems and clean energy mini-grids.
Why Wait? uses a framework for estimating the dividends of electricity access that is designed to help government leaders and other decision-makers assess the comparative advantages of different electrification options and services – ranging from more limited Tier 1 electricity service (a few hours of power a day) to more robust and costly Tiers 4 and 5 – to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 of universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
Rachel Kyte, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All, said: “Decision makers are faced with competing priorities against finite resources. “Why Wait” provides powerful evidence on the development gains that can be achieved by focusing on integrated energy strategies that advance energy access. Household savings and hours of study time that are won because of access to energy. Denying those gains by not prioritizing solutions to energy access risks holding back whole generation decentralized renewable energy as an attractive option for closing the energy access gap quickly, especially for remote rural areas. This work shows it can bring prosperity and education outcomes as well as other services energy provides.”
“Default approaches to electrification that rely on slow, expensive, fossil-fuel-powered centralized generation are out of date and out of time,” said Kristina Skierka, CEO of Power for All. “The Energy Access Dividend challenges business-as-usual by valuing ‘time to access’—for the first time specifying the opportunity cost of large-scale projects that may never reach the 1 billion people around the world who still have to live without the benefits of electricity. Properly supported, decentralized renewable energy can deliver socio-economic dividends faster and at a lower cost.”
This report includes Energy Access Dividend estimates for Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya, focused on financial savings, educational benefits and climate benefits. These three countries were selected due to their wide-ranging differences in terms of income levels, demographics and past and planned electrification rates. These countries also have significant populations without access to electricity. It is hoped that by integrating dividend projections into electrification, development and economic planning and budgeting decisions, government decision-makers will give closer attention and support to decentralized energy solutions as a key electrification strategy.