India lauded for improving energy access to 500 million people: IEA

CHENNAI: India has provided electricity access to half a billion people since 2000. An energy accessreport of 140 countries brought out by the International Energy Agencyon Thursday shows that those without access to electricity across the globe fell from 1.6 billion in 2000 to 1.1 billion in 2016.

Developing countries in Asia are making significant progress. Obviously, India has been among the largest contributors during this period. While many developing countries are set to provide universal energy access by 2030, going by the current pace, India would achieve it by 2020 itself. Still, 674 million people in the world, almost 90% of them in sub-Saharan Africa, will remain without electricity even after 2030, the report said.

The analysis says cost-effective strategies for providing universal access to electricity and clean-cooking facilities in developing countries would meet global climate goals and prevent millions of premature deaths each year. It would also benefit women the most as it would free up billions of hours currently lost to gathering firewood.

Even as coal remains the primary source of new power, renewables have contributed more than one-third of new connections in the last five years. The shift is expected to accelerate in coming years, and by 2030, renewables would provide new electricity access to three out of five people, the report said.