Figures on Energy Poverty

From energypedia


How to read this overview:

2009/2010 2030
Electricity = YELLOW
Detailed information about electricity-access
Cooking with traditional biomass = GREEN NUMBERS OPTIONAL
Detailed information about access to modern fuels
More information, Impacts, Costs, etc. = PURPLE
More detailed information


OECD/IEA Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) / Internation Energy Agency (IEA)
WEO World Economic Outlook
WHO Worl Health Organization
SSA sub-Saharan Africa
Dev. Asia
IAP indoor air pollution
LDC least-developed countries
GHG green house gas

Go To Top

OECD/IEA Energy Poverty (WEO 2010)[1]

2009 2030

Lack of access to electricity

(Developing countries = identical with worldwide)

1.441 billion 1.213 billion
Lack of access to electricity (in rural areas) 1.227 billion (85%) 1.055 billion (87%)
  • Lack of access to electricity in Africa
  • Lack of access to electricity in SSA
  • Lack of access to electricity in Dev. Asia
  • Lack of access to electricity in Latin America
  • 587 million
  • 585 million
  • 799 million
  • 31 million
  • 654 million
  • 652 million
  • 545 million
  • 10 million
  • Electrification rate in Africa
  • Electrification rate to electricity in SSA
  • Electrification rate in Dev. Asia
  • Electrification rate in Latin America
  • 42%
  • 31%
  • 78%
  • 73%
  • 57%
  • 50%
  • 88%
  • 98%
Some 15% of the world's population still lack access to electricity, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Cooking with traditional biomass 2.679 billion 2.8 billion
Traditional biomass ratio rural areas 82% 82%
  • People relying on traditional biomass in Africa
  • People relying on traditional biomass in SSA
  • People relying on traditional biomass in Dev. Asia
  • People relying on traditional biomass in Latin America
  • 657 million
  • 653 million
  • 1.937 million
  • 85 million
  • 922 million
  • 918 million
  • 1769 million
  • 79 million
  • Share by region in Africa
  • Share by region in SSA
  • Share by region in Dev. Asia
  • Share by region in Latin America
  • 67%
  • 80%
  • 55%
  • 18%
  • 61%
  • 70%
  • 62%
  • 14%
Demand for traditional biomass climbs... ...from some 250 Mtoe... ... to almost 300 Mtoe in 2035 in Africa, mainly in SSA.
In China, traditional biomass demand drops... ... from some 200 Mtoe in 2008... ... to 120 Mtoe in 2035.
Traditional use of biomass also falls in India... ...from 128 Mtoe... ... to about 120 Mtoe.
More information, Impacts, Costs, ect.
Premature deaths caused by indoor air pollution (estimates based on WHO figures) 1.45 million/year 1.5 million/year
Investments needed for total energy access; (3% of global energy investments for 30% of world population) To meet universal access until 2030 756 billion USD or +36 billion USD/year

Cumulative investment for access to electricity to be universal by 2030: 223 billion USD in 2010-2015 and another 477 USD billion in 2016-2030.

Until 2030 in total: 700 billion USD (2010-2030)

We estimate that universal access to clean cooking facilities could be achieved through additional cumulative investments in 2010-2030.

  • 51% to biogas systems in rural areas
  • 23% to advanced biomass cook stoves in rural areas
  • and 26% to LPG stoves in rural and urban areas.

Until 2030 in total:56 billion USD or 2.6 billion USD/year

  • 1.4 billion USD/year
  • 0.6 billion USD/year
  • 0.7 billion USD/year
South Africa: Rolling blackouts have provided strong impetus for recent price increases and plans to further raise tariffs in coming years.
In 2010, raise average electricity prices by approximately 25% per year over 2010-2013.
Environmental implications of inefficient burnt biomass: land degradation and local and regional air pollution. (p.14.)
The first UN MDG of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 will not be achieved unless substantial progress is made to improve energy access.[2]
While achieving universal access to modern energy services until 2030, the resulting increase in energy demand and CO2 emissions would be modest. In 2030, global oil demand would have risen less than 1% and CO2 emissions would be only 0.8% higher, compared with the New Policies Scenario.[2]

About half of developing countries have set up electricity access targets and the national, rural and/or urban level.

While some countries, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Ghana, India, Nepal, South Africa or Swaziland aim to reach universal access within the next 5 to 17 years,...

... others have defined intermediate goals: Malawi 30% electrification rates by 2020.

(Rwanda 35%, Laos 90%, Indonesia 90%).

Cambodia has a target to increase its rural electrification rate from 12% today to 70% by 2030.
Worryingly, very few developing countries have set targets for access to modern cooking fuels or improved cook stoves or for reducing the share of the population relying on traditional biomass. (p.269f)

Go To Top

Practical Action Poor Peoples's Energy Outlook[3]

2009/ 2010 2030
Lack of access to electricity (worldwide) (Legros, 2009) 1.5 million (22%)

Non-electrified population in

  • 698 million
  • 809 million
Lack of access to electricity (rural)[5]
  • World: 63.2%
  • Africa: 22.7%
  • SSA: 11.9%

Dev. Asia: 67.2%

  • Middle East: 70.6%
Cooking with traditional biomass and coal 3 billion (of which around 75% use 3 stone fire)
Improved cook stoves penetration rate (for solid fuel users) (Legros et al.)
  • 27% worldwide
  • 6% in Africa
More Information, Impacts, Costs, etc.
Premature deaths caused by indoor air pollution 1.4 million
Deaths from fires alone (WHO) 300,000/year
Rate of household black carbon emissions of all global black carbon emissions (Bond, 2010) 23%
Minimum energy service levels: Quantification of energy inputs for basic needs (e.g. kg of cooking fuel, hours of light etc.) see p. 32ff
Generally health effects... ... described in great details from p. 38

Go To Top

UN General Assembly - International Year for Sustainable Energy for All, 11 November 2010, Sixty-fifth session, Second Committee

2009 / 2010
Lacking access to electricity
1.5 billion

Cooking and heating ( traditional biomass and coal)
3 billion

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves[6]

2009 / 2010
People using dirt, inefficient stoves or open fire
3 billion, 500 households

More information, Impacts, Costs, etc.

Premature deaths due to indoor air pollution
1.9 million/year


  • 5: Indoor air pollution is the fifth biggest health risk in the developing world.
  • 2 million: number of people who die worldwide each year from exposure to cook stove smoke.
  • 3 billion: nearly half the people in the world use polluting, inefficient stoves to cook their food each day.
  • 16 seconds: how often cook stoves smoke claims a life.

Go To Top

WHO - The Energy Access Situation in developing countries. A Review Focusing on the Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa (November 2009)

Lacking access to electricity 1.5 billion
Lack of access to electricity in LDC 79%
Lack of access to electricity in Sub-Sahara 74%
Cooking (solid fuels) 3 billion
Lack of access to modern fuels in LDC 91%
Lack of access to modern fuels in Sub-Sahara 83%
More information, Impacts, Costs, etc.
Annually deaths from pneumonia, chronic lung disease, and lung cancer, and 99% of them occur in developing countries

almost two million

44% children, 66% adults, 60% adult women

38% directly linked to solid fuel use (50% in LCD)

Relying on solid fuels for household use 45% of world population
Access to electricity and to modern fuels for cooking also varies dramatically among countries in the same region... ... in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 1% of people in Burundi, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, or Uganda have access to modern fuels, but 83% of people in South Africa have access.
In rural areas of the developing countries access to modern fuels for cooking and access to electricity is considerably lower than in urban areas.
  • urban: 70% (90%)
  • rural: 19% (59%)

Go To Top

Lighting Africa Homepage[7]

2009 2030
Lacking Access to electricity 1.6 billion (IEA)
Lack of access to electricity in Africa

589 million

As of 2009, grid connections in Africa stood at just 35%.

700 million
Of African on-grid population, more than a third experience frequent blackout and are considered "under electrified".
Solar portable lanterns could address the lighting needs of 49% of the of-grid households in Africa (or 54 million households).
More information, Impacts, Costs, etc.

Costs for lighting:

  • African households who are off-grid spend 4.4 billion Dollar/year on kerosene (or 54% of their expenditure on lighting).
  • African poor rural households and small businesses currently spend 10 billion Dollar on lighting annually,
  • ... growing to over 12 billion Dollar by 2015.
Production costs The manufacturing costs of solar portable light is set to drop by 40% by 2015.
Lack of appropriate financing is the biggest challenge to scaling the solar lighting market and industry, according to 27% of the surveyed market players.

Go To Top

UN Energy Homepage[8]

2009 2030
Lacking access to electricity Approximately 28% of people in developing countries. The IEA estimates that 1.4 billion people will still lack access to electricity in 2030.
... and 1 billion more only have intermittent access.
Lack access to electricity LDC 70%
Lack access to electricity in Sub-Sahara 70%
Cooking (solid fuels) some 2.7 billion people
More information, Impacts, Costs, etc.
Two million deaths each year are associated with burning solid fuels in unventilated kitchens. Some 44% of those who die are children, among adults deaths, 60% are women.

Energy is the single biggest contributor to climate change: Energy accounts for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Go To Top

AGECC Advisory Group[9]

The AGECC has recommended two bold but achievable targets for 2030 - universal access to modern energy sources and a 40% decrease in energy intensity.

2009 2030
Lacking access to electricity about 1.5 billion
Cooking (solid fuels) approximately 3 billion
More information, Impacts, Costs, etc.
Low-income countries need to expand access to modern energy services substantially in order to meet the needs of the several billion people who experience severe energy poverty in terms of inadequate and unreliable access to energy services and reliance on traditional biomass. They need to do so in a way that is economically viable, sustainable, affordable and efficient, and that releases the least amount of GHGs. annually 35-40 billion Dollar of capital will be required to achieve basic universal access by 2030. (15 billion Dollars of grants and 20-25 billion Dollar of loan capital)
The costs of the minimum energy package to end users should be no more than a reasonable fraction of their income (10-20%)
More efficient stoves are relatively inexpensive (15-60 Dollar per unit/ 3-12 Dollar per person). However, experience has shown that higher-quality, more durable models (with associated high costs) stand a much better chance of success of sustained impact. (UNDP expert interviews, ESMAP 2005a)

Go To Top

Further Information


  1. OECD/IEA (2010): Energy Poverty - How to make modern energy access universal? Special early excerpt of the World Energy Outlook 2010 for the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals. IEA. Paris.
  2. 2.0 2.1 WEO Outlook 2009:Chapter 8 Energy Poverty
  3. - Bond, T. (2010) Estimate in conficence and key uncertainties in black carbon emissions and radiative impacts, SLCF Workshop, North Carolina, USA, March 3, 2010.fckLR- Legros, G., Havet, I., Bruce, N., Vonhour, S. (2009). The energy access situation in developing countries. A review focusing on the least developed countries and Sub-Sharan Africa, UNDP and WHO, New York.fckLR- Macharia,E., Gupta, F., Tsan, ;., Avato, P., Cabraal, A., Njai, A., Rysankova, D. (2010) Lighting Africa: Overview of off-frid solar portable lighting in Africa. Dragt Report for the Second Global Business Conference and Trade Fair for Off-Grid Lighting in Africa, May 18-20. Dahlberg Development Advisors, Nairobi, Kenya.fckLR- Practical Action (2010): Poor Peoples's Energy Outlook
  4. Machara et al.,2010
  5. IEA, 2009
  9. AGECC Report: Energy for a sustainable future