IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2014 - 29

in this scenario, access rates in africa and south asia are
forecast to continue lagging far behind. even under the
iea's "new Policies" scenario, there will still be 991 million
people left without electricity in 2030. most of these people
(some 88%, or 879 million) will be living in rural areas, with
the remainder (112 million) occupying urban areas.
Though urbanization will continue, the rural population in
2030 is expected to be only slightly less than today. The U.n.
department of economic and social affairs (Undesa), in
its World Urbanization Prospects, expects that the world's
urban population will grow from the current 3.6 billion people to more than 4.9 billion by then. The growth of the world
population therefore mainly affects urban areas, and according to the United nations, nearly 1 billion people today live
in urban slums and informal settlements. The migration to
informal, low-income, and often illegal urban settlements
often causes serious problems. such areas are normally not
covered by the infrastructure planning of the government
and service providers. in some cases, electricity is provided
by local entrepreneurs or stolen from accessible distribution
lines or connections. While there are similarities (poverty,
small loads, small-scale enterprises, etc.), the electrification
of these areas is different from that of rural areas. The provision of electricity to the informal settlement areas should
preferably be performed as part of coordinated urban infrastructure development (water, sanitation, energy) rather than
as a stand-alone activity.

Call for Action
in the last few years, the social and political pressure to electrify the deprived areas in the developing world has increased.
There is growing consensus among international development partners that an integrated global strategy to tackle
rural and remote area development is needed to meet poverty
reduction targets and the energy needs of the population.

in 2012, the United nations again placed high on its
agenda the provision of sufficient and affordable modern
energy to the energy-poor in the world, recommending a
global campaign "to mobilize existing knowledge networks
and to seek active engagement of all sectors of society, including the world of academia and research, aiming to accelerate
the transfer of best practices." The year 2030 has been set as
a target date for universal access to modern energy services,
including electricity. The goal of providing universal access
to electricity by 2030 is very ambitious, but according to the
high-level United nations advisory group on energy and
climate change, it is achievable. it is nevertheless clear that
significant hurdles must be surmounted. There is no doubt
that the United nation's sustainable energy for all initiative
(se4all) has made the world aware of the urgent need to
provide deprived communities with modern energy.

Implications: Connections and Costs
The electrification of rural areas has often been based on
electricity supply from a central grid. But current renewable
energy technologies offer enhanced opportunities for offgrid power systems and include photovoltaic (PV) systems,
wind turbines, biomass-fueled combined-heat-and-power
units, hybrid systems, storage facilities, and fuel cells. offgrid options include solar home systems (shss), portable
battery kits, and similar solutions that can satisfy initial electricity needs.
generally speaking, electricity access has always been
defined in terms of the number of households-and perhaps
small enterprises-connected to a power grid. in principle,
these connections and the grid are designed to meet future
load growth. But to reduce costs, adaptation to the rural context is needed because the initial demand from poor households can be as low as 10 kWh per month and only matures
slowly. shss are an attractive option for satisfying initial

table 2. Electricity access in 2011: Regional aggregates (source: IEA).
Region

Population Without
Electricity (Millions)

Electrification
Rate (%)

Urban Electrification
Rate (%)

Rural Electrification
Rate (%)

Developing countries

1.257

76.5

90.6

65.1

Africa

600

43

65

28

-North Africa

1

99

100

99

-Sub-Saharan

599

32

55

18

Developing Asia

615

83

95

75

-India

306

75

94

67

-Rest of developing Asia

309

87

95

80

Latin America

24

95

99

81

Middle East

19

91

99

76

Transition economies
and OECD

1

99.9

100

99.7

World

1.258

81.9

93.7

69.0

july/august 2014

ieee power & energy magazine

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