The Argument, at a Glance


3.6 billion people – nearly half of humanity – lack access to abundant, reliable energy.


Ending energy poverty requires 2,000 TWh per year of new electricity, or 4x Germany’s current consumption.


Doing that with business-as-usual power generation would burn more than 4x the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia by 2070.


There is another way. Clean energy and battery storage prices have fallen by over 90% in the past decade, making it the cheapest path to electricity in much of the world.


In 2021 renewable electricity generation rose by 522 TWh, or roughly 1/4 of what is needed to end energy poverty. Most of this generation occurred in developed countries, but a clean energy future is possible for all, if we work together.


This is why the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) exists. GEAPP has set goals of extending or improving power for 1 billion people, while enabling or improving 150 million sustainable livelihoods, and avoiding or averting 4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Three coore truths underpin today’s global energy outlook:

1. Far too many people live without access to modern, affordable, reliable, and abundant power.

2. Access to electricity is the key to
advancement and global development.

3. Delivering that power in a clean, low-carbon fashion is critical to confronting the planet’s greatest existential threat – climate change.

Three coore truths underpin today’s global energy outlook:

1. Far too many people live without access to modern, affordable, reliable, and abundant power.

2. Access to electricity is the key to
advancement and global development.

3. Delivering that power in a clean, low-carbon fashion is critical to confronting the planet’s greatest existential threat – climate change.

Close to half of us on Earth – around 3.6 billion people – lack access to reliable, abundant electricity. This absence deprives communities of the ability to develop – to communicate, study, irrigate crops, refrigerate foods, and run factories. Lack of power blocks their path to prosperity.

Bringing clean energy to these communities is the key to global development. From remote villages to urban centers, clean energy can spark economic growth, innovation, jobs, and self-advancement.

Nbuba is an engineer who works at the solar grid station in Shimankar Village, Nigeria.

Powering that crucial development for people across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean will require about four times Germany’s annual energy consumption. If this energy comes from fossil-fuel-fired power plants, the resulting emissions will significantly worsen the climate crisis.

That is an unacceptable – but also avoidable – outcome. Energy poverty is, by some measures, the single most pernicious force hindering development. And yet it is worsening – with another 25 million people in Africa now living without energy access, compared with pre-pandemic.1 In all, three quarters of a billion people – more than live in all of Europe – lack any access to electricity, while another 2.8 billion must get by with sporadic, dirty, often costly electricity. Fuel for back-up diesel generators alone now costs at least $40 billion a year. Lives are diminished and severely restricted by the current reality.

Rukayat, a rice farmer from Shimankar Village, Nigeria.

The world is struggling to take the bold steps needed to halt the climate crisis, despite record-breaking heat waves, devastating storms, and soaring concerns about energy security. Recent estimates indicate that the planet is likely to warm by up to 3 degrees centigrade – a possibly catastrophic outcome.

A family outside of their home in Aregawi, Ethiopia.

Many developing countries understandably see economic growth and stability as more urgent concerns for their young populations. They look to wealthy nations, who grew rich on the consumption of oil, gas, and coal, as the ones who must lead and finance the energy transition, particularly in the near-term. These concerns are real and should shape but not limit our actions going forward.

Jean is a microgrid operations manager who helped set up the grids in several communities in Haiti.

Fortunately, we now have the means to tackle these realities and power future development, while also combating climate change. Clean energy technologies are becoming cheaper, more effective, and easier to deploy. Today we can produce more energy while cutting emissions.

Close to half of us on Earth – around 3.6 billion people – lack access to reliable, abundant electricity. This absence deprives communities of the ability to develop – to communicate, study, irrigate crops, refrigerate foods, and run factories. Lack of power blocks their path to prosperity.

Bringing clean energy to these communities is the key to global development. From remote villages to urban centers, clean energy can spark economic growth, innovation, jobs, and self-advancement.

Nbuba is an engineer who works at the solar grid station in Shimankar Village, Nigeria.

Powering that crucial development for people across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean will require about four times Germany’s annual energy consumption. If this energy comes from fossil-fuel-fired power plants, the resulting emissions will significantly worsen the climate crisis.

That is an unacceptable – but also avoidable – outcome. Energy poverty is, by some measures, the single most pernicious force hindering development. And yet it is worsening – with another 25 million people in Africa now living without energy access, compared with pre-pandemic.1 In all, three quarters of a billion people – more than live in all of Europe – lack any access to electricity, while another 2.8 billion must get by with sporadic, dirty, often costly electricity. Fuel for back-up diesel generators alone now costs at least $40 billion a year. Lives are diminished and severely restricted by the current reality.

Rukayat, a rice farmer from Shimankar Village, Nigeria.

The world is struggling to take the bold steps needed to halt the climate crisis, despite record-breaking heat waves, devastating storms, and soaring concerns about energy security. Recent estimates indicate that the planet is likely to warm by up to 3 degrees centigrade – a possibly catastrophic outcome.

A family outside of their home in Aregawi, Ethiopia.

Many developing countries understandably see economic growth and stability as more urgent concerns for their young populations. They look to wealthy nations, who grew rich on the consumption of oil, gas, and coal, as the ones who must lead and finance the energy transition, particularly in the near-term. These concerns are real and should shape but not limit our actions going forward.

Jean is a microgrid operations manager who helped set up the grids in several communities in Haiti.

Fortunately, we now have the means to tackle these realities and power future development, while also combating climate change. Clean energy technologies are becoming cheaper, more effective, and easier to deploy. Today we can produce more energy while cutting emissions.

What’s needed is a radical behavior change whereby wealthy nations play –and pay – their part, collaborating with developing countries to eradicate energy poverty, decarbonize energy systems, and ensure economic progress. This energy transition is an opportunity for pro-development governments to lower their costs and increase their energy security. This is both a climate change imperative and the best strategy for economic development.

A concerted global effort is needed, starting with finance. Developed countries must be held to their 2016 Paris pledge to contribute $100 billion per year in climate finance. Private capital markets also hold enormous potential to drive change at scale. Catalyzing this capital requires the systematic removal of obstacles that prevent it from flowing to investable and much-needed projects.

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP, or the Alliance) exists to confront and overcome these obstacles. GEAPP aims to bring power (in all senses of the word) to communities that lack it, in a way that also helps the planet. The Alliance is determined to show a way forward that can confront climate change while addressing the deep inequities of energy poverty.

Together, let’s change energy for good.

Footnotes

  1. Source: IEA, “Global energy crisis shows urgency of accelerating investment in cheaper and cleaner energy in Africa”; available at: https://w/ww.iea.org/news/global-energy-crisis-shows-urgency-of-accelerating-investment-in-cheaper-and-cleaner-energy-in-africa
  2. Source: Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset; available at: https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/downloads
  3. Source: Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset; available at: https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/downloads
  4. Source: IEA, SDG7: Data and Projections; available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/sdg7-data-and-projections
  5. Source: Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset; available at: https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/downloads
  6. Source: SEforAll “Lasting Impact: Sustainable Off-Grid Solar Delivery Models to Power Health and Education” (2019), available at: https://www.seforall.org/publications/lasting-impact-sustainable-off-grid-solar-delivery-models
  7. Source: 60_decibels: Uses and Impacts of Solar Water Pumps; available at: https://storage.googleapis.com/e4a-website-assets/Use-and-Impacts-of-SWPs-July-2021-v2.pdf
  8. Source: Authors’ calculations assuming average-sized smartphone battery (4,000 mAh, 3.8V; 15 Wh) and average electricity rates in the US and Europe ($0.15- $0.30 per kWh) vs. typical charging service cost in developing contexts.
  9. Source: IFC, The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid, 2019; Available at: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/industry_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/financial+institutions/resources/dirty-footprint-of-broken-grid
  10. Source: IFC, The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid, 2019; Available at: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/industry_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/financial+institutions/resources/dirty-footprint-of-broken-grid
  11. Source: World Bank, Underutilized Potential: The Business Costs of Unreliable Infrastructure in Developing Countries, 2019; Available at: https://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/10.1596/1813-9450-8899
  12. Source: World Bank Enterprise Surveys; available at: https://www.enterprisesurveys.org/en/enterprisesurveys
  13. Source: Authors’ calculations, leveraging Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset, IEA per capita electricity consumption data
  14. Source: Energy for Growth Hub, The Modern Energy Minimum; Available at: https://www.energyforgrowth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/FULL-Modern-Energy-Minimum-final-Jan2021.pdf
  15. Source: Authors’ calculations, leveraging US EIA data for US historicals, IEA per capita electricity consumption data, and World Bank country designations.
  16. Source: IEA Data Browser, Available at: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/energy-statistics-data-browser
  17. Source: Authors’ calculations based on regression analysis of per capita GDP and electricity consumption data vs. HDI score
  18. Source: Authors’ calculations, leveraging IEA per capita electricity consumption data, IEA residential share of electricity consumption data, and UN DESA World Population Prospects 2022 medium variant projections (all publicly available).
  19. Source: IEA Data Browser, Available at: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/energy-statistics-data-browser
  20. Authors’ calculations based on IEA, Tracking Transport 2021, available at: https://www.iea.org/reports/transport
  21. Solar PV indirect emissions occur during the manufacturing, distribution, installation, and disposal of systems component
  22. Source: IRENA, Power Generation Costs, 2021; Available at: https://www.irena.org/publications/2022/Jul/Renewable-Power-Generation-Costs-in-2021
  23. Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Battery Pack Prices Fall to an Average of $132/kWh, But Rising Commodity Prices Start to Bite”, available at: https://about.bnef.com/blog/battery-pack-prices-fall-to-an-average-of-132-kwh-but-rising-commodity-prices-start-to-bite/
  24. Source: IEA, Annual energy storage additions by country, 2015-2020; available at: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/annual-energy-storage-additions-by-country-2015-2020
  25. Source: Author’s calculations leveraging NREL’s U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmarks: Q1 2021
  26. Source: Rockefeller Foundation, Electrifying Economies; Available at: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/rf-microsites/electrifying-economies/
  27. Source: SEIA, “Solar Industry Research Data”; available at: https://www.seia.org/solar-industry-research-data
  28. Source: Ember Data Explorer; available at: https://ember-climate.org/data/data-explorer/
  29. Source: Author modeling leveraging data from CAIT and assuming that OECD countries reach net zero by 2050, emerging economies by 2060, and energy-poor countries by 2070, with emissions growth reversed in the latter by 2040
  30. Source: Author modeling leveraging data from CAIT and assuming that emissions grow at a CAGR of 2.8 percent per year through 2050 and 1.4 percent in the following decade, only beginning to decrease starting in 2060.
  31. Source: Author’s calculations based on OPEC crude oil reserves of 267 billion barrels and and 0.3714 tCO2/barrel from ‘Carbon Majors: Accounting for Carbon and Methane Emissions 1854-2010 – Methods & Results Report’

 

GEAPP Program and Partner Project Highlights

  1. Source: Benchmarking Distribution Utilities in India, October 2020, SPI & Niti Aayog; Available at: https://smartpowerindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/WEB_SPI_Electrification_16.pdf
  2. Source: Rooftop Solar final render; Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wwvbXpuWgs
  3. Source: Rooftop Solar final render; Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wwvbXpuWgs
  4. Source: SPI Customer Report; Available at: https://smartpowerindia.org/smart-power-india-launches-its-report-on-rural-electrification-in-india/
  5. Source: Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust; Available at: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/cancer-causes/chemicals/diesel-exhaust-and-cancer.html ; https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/17/4/733 ; https://oehha.ca.gov/air/health-effects-diesel-exhaust
  6. Source: SPI Deployment estimates
  7. Source: ESMAP, Nigeria Tracking SDG 7, available at: https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/country/nigeria
  8. Authors’ calculation based on IEA 2019 data
  9. Source: FAO,  Nigeria at a Glance, available at: https://www.fao.org/nigeria/fao-in-nigeria/nigeria-at-a-glance/en/
  10. Source: National Bureau of Statistics, available at: https://www.nigerianstat.gov.ng/
  11. Source: IFC, The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid, 2019; Available at: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/2cd3d83d-4f00-4d42-9bdc-4afdc2f5dbc7/20190919-Full-Report-The-Dirty-Footprint-of-the-Broken-Grid.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=mR9UpXC
  12. Source: IFC, The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid, 2019; Available at: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/2cd3d83d-4f00-4d42-9bdc-4afdc2f5dbc7/20190919-Full-Report-The-Dirty-Footprint-of-the-Broken-Grid.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=mR9UpXC
  13. Source: Nigeria Energy Transition Plan, available at: https://www.seforall.org/events/launch-of-nigerias-energy-transition-plan
  14. Source: International Energy Agency Energy Statistics Data Browser; Available at: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/energy-statistics-data-browser
  15. Source: International Energy Agency – South Africa; Available at: https://www.iea.org/countries/south-africa
  16. Source: South Africa Department of Energy Energy Balances 2018 (pg. 14); Available at: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/media/explained/2021-South-African-Energy-Sector-Report.pdf
  17. Source: GDP by Country; Available at: https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-by-country/
  18. Source: UNDP Climate Promise – South Africa; Available at: https://climatepromise.undp.org/what-we-do/where-we-work/south-africa
  19. Source: World Bank data; available at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.ACCS.ZS?locations=MM. However, SPM estimates this number to be closer to 55%.
  20. Source: https://www.unfpa.org/data/world-population/MM
  21. Source: SPM: Energising Agriculture in Myanmar; available at: https://downloads.ctfassets.net/nvxmg7jt07o2/aw1dQBBaMLxivJ7jRLu4Z/716b0732a3e83bfa6c3bbe50a573f565/Final_SPM-agriculturalvaluechains-final_1.pdf
  22. Source: Fulcrum, “Myanmar’s Post-coup Electricity Woes: Stalled Power Plans, Shattered Public Trust”; available at: https://fulcrum.sg/myanmars-post-coup-electricity-woes-stalled-power-plans-shattered-public-trust/
  23. [1]Source: World Bank, Myanmar Rice and Pulses: Farm Production Economics and Value Chain Dynamics (2019); available at: https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/623701579900727742/pdf/Myanmar-Rice-and-Pulses-Farm-Production-Economics-and-Value-Chain-Dynamics.pdf
  24. Source: Myint, T and Myo Thu, K – National Export Strategy (2019) Rubber Sector Strategy, 2015-2019; retrieved from https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/2606
  25. Source: Myint, T and Myo Thu, K – National Export Strategy (2019) Rubber Sector Strategy, 2015-2019; retrieved from https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/2606
  26. Source: Myint, T and Myo Thu, K – National Export Strategy (2019) Rubber Sector Strategy, 2015-2019; retrieved from https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/2606
  27. Source: USAID: Rapid Market Assessment of Aquaculture Sector in Myanmar (2021); available from: https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00XCRW.pdf
  28. Source: World Data Population Comparison; Available at: https://www.worlddata.info/populationgrowth.php
  29. Source: GEAPP DREAM Initiative; Available at: https://www.energyalliance.org/news-insights/dream-initiative/
  30. Source: FAO Smallholder Farmer Data Portrait; Available at: https://www.fao.org/family-farming/detail/en/c/385074/
  31. Source: GIZ Solar Irrigation Market Analysis in Ethiopia, IWMI/FAO Suitability Framework for Solar Irrigation ; Available at: http://www.practica.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Solar-irrigation-market-Analysis-in-Ethiopia_GIZ-NIRAS-IP-Consult-PRACTICA.pdf
  32. Source: Catalyst calculations leveraging information from the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency Minigrid Viability Report.
  33. Source: Catalyst estimations leveraging World Bank Multi-tier Framework
  34. Source: Catalyst estimations leveraging GEAPP “Transforming a Billion Lives” Report; Available at: https://www.energyalliance.org/reports/
  35. Source: Catalyst estimations leveraging: CDM AMS-I.L. Electrification of rural communities using renewable energy — Version 3.0; Available at: https://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/CCZKY3FSL1T28BNEGDRSCKS0CY0WVA, CDM AMS-I.F.Renewable electricity generation for captive use and mini-grid — Version 4.0; Available at: https://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/VLTLVBDOD19GFSTDHAR0CRLUZ6YMGU, CDM AMS-I.B. Mechanical energy for the user with or without electrical energy — Version 12.0; Available at:https://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/M204DLP0XMSWSZ9H4SIZ6W86M8RHCM and SE4ALL Emissions Tool; Available at: https://www.seforall.org/mini-grids-emissions-tool
  36. Source: NREL Island Energy Snapshot; Available at: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/62708.pdf
  37. Source: Energy Information Administration – Hawaii; Available at: https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=HI
  38. [1]Source:Energy Information Administration – Electric Power Monthly; Available at: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_5_6_a
  39. Source: The Socio-Economic Impacts of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Restructuring Support Agreement (RSA) on the Population of Puerto Rico; Available at: https://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/PREPA-RSA-Cordero-Guzman-UTIER-REPORT-9-10-19-FIN-ENGLISH.pdf
  40. Source: The Socio-Economic Impacts of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) Restructuring Support Agreement (RSA) on the Population of Puerto Rico; Available at: https://ieefa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/PREPA-RSA-Cordero-Guzman-UTIER-REPORT-9-10-19-FIN-ENGLISH.pdf
  41. Source: Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset; available at:https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/downloads
  42. Source: The World Bank, “Nigeria – Food SmartCountry Diagnostic,” 2020.; Available at: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/34522
  43. Source: PWC. Boosting rice production through increased mechanisation, (2018); available from: https://www.pwc.com/ng/en/publications/boosting-rice-production-through-increased-mechanisation.html
  44. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020. Rome, 2020. doi: 10.4060/cb1329en. ; Available at: https://www.fao.org/3/cb1329en/CB1329EN.pdf
  45. Source: Boosting rice production through increased mechanisation, (2018); available from: https://www.pwc.com/ng/en/publications/boosting-rice-production-through-increased-mechanisation.html
  46. Source: Tracking SDG7 – SDG 7.1.1 Electrification Dataset; available at:https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/downloads
  47. Source: Prospects for Energy Efficiency in Sierra Leone’s Power Sector; Available at: https://www.energyeconomicgrowth.org/sites/default/files/2022-02/Lucas%20Davis%20working%20paper.pdf
  48. Source: Estimations based on GEAPP Jobs report multipliers and International Labour Organization Hydropower Jobs ; Available at: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/documents/publication/wcms_562269.pdf
  49. Source: Catalyst calculations based on World Bank Multi-tier Framework
  50. Source: CDM AMS-I.L. Electrification of rural communities using renewable energy — Version 3.0; Available at: https://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/CCZKY3FSL1T28BNEGDRSCKS0CY0WVA
  51. Source: CDM AMS-I.D. Grid connected renewable electricity generation — Version 18.0; Available at: https://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/DB/W3TINZ7KKWCK7L8WTXFQQOFQQH4SBK
  52. Source: Catalyst calculations based on Tracking SDG 7.
  53. Source: IADB Energia Hub; Available at: https://hubenergia.org/index.php/en/indicators/access-electricity-service
  54. Source: IADB Energia Hub; Available at: https://hubenergia.org/index.php/en/indicators/access-electricity-service
  55. Source: Tracking SDG 7 Report; Available at: https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/country/malawi
  56. Source: IRENA Statistical Profiles – Malawi; Available at: https://www.irena.org/IRENADocuments/Statistical_Profiles/Africa/Malawi_Africa_RE_SP.pdf
  57. Source: Catalyst modeling based on expected improvements to power supply reliability for grid-tied customers served by the new BESS and VRE systems.
  58. Source: Catalyst modeling based on storage industry multipliers for direct BESS construction and general economy sector splits for Malawi applied to estimated employment multipliers from GEAPP’s 2021 Jobs Report.
  59. Source: Catalyst modeling based on displacement of stop-gap and backup power sources for households and businesses
  60. IEA Energy Statistics – Indonesia; Available at: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/energy-statistics-data-browser