Life without reliable energy for 2 billion people


A new report published by SPACE10 and Quicksand reveals the negative impacts of energy poverty on health, economic and social wellbeing of 2 billion people in India, Indonesia, Peru and Kenya.

According to the report ‘Life without Energy: needs, dreams, and aspirations’ there are close to 4 million premature deaths due to household air pollution caused by efforts of people to power themselves.

25% of the world’s population have no access to reliable energy, 860 million people live completely without electricity and up to 674 million are expected to continue living in energy poverty by 2030 if electrification rates do not improve.

Other key study findings include:

  • The first room in many homes to be electrified is a shopfront
  • The first purchase made when access to electricity is achieved is a mobile phone
  • Women are the most affected health-wise due to lack of clean electrification
  • Running a generator for three hours costs $8 in Peru and has to be used as a weekend treat
  • Homes that have been connected to the grid for 17 years still rely on solar to mitigate the unreliability of their connection
  • Access to clean, affordable energy is key to eradicate extreme poverty, create shared prosperity, and unlock the full potential of humanity 
  • New energy solutions, like solar energy and other off-grid solutions, could provide a pathway to universal energy access in emerging economies.

Neel Tamhane, Solar Project Lead at SPACE10 commented: “Present-day energy systems designed around big, centralised power plants and top-down, one-way power flows are inadequate when it comes to meeting the rising electricity demand and restrict the transition towards smarter, cleaner technologies that offer new ways to generate and manage energy at the local level.

“These challenges are more pronounced when it comes to extending the grid to rural areas, while grid extension entails a one-time capital cost, the challenges around reducing the gap between the average cost of supply and average revenue continues to be a struggle. Even though most of the emerging economies have made substantial progress in ensuring energy access, adequate quality and reliability at the edge of the grid has still been challenging. “