Global Electricity Access Gap Widens: UN

A UN report confirms that the number of people without access to electricity increased for the first time in over a decade, as population grew at a higher rate than that of new electricity connections, leaving 685 million people without electricity in 2022, 10 million more than in 2021.

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Children study under the light of candles at their home after a power cut in Nagaon district of India's northeastern state of Assam, April 22, 2022. (Str/Xinhua)

The world remains off course to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for energy (SDG7) as progress on basic energy access in 2022 reversed for the first time in a decade, finds a UN report.

The global energy access gap is worsening as population growth outpaces new connections, says the report released on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the UN Statistics Division, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization.

The report warns that current efforts are not enough to achieve SDG7 on time.

It confirms that the number of people without access to electricity increased for the first time in over a decade, as population grew at a higher rate than that of new electricity connections, leaving 685 million people without electricity in 2022, 10 million more than in 2021.

Meanwhile, 2.1 billion people still lived without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, with the number remaining largely flat last year. This carries with it huge implications for health, gender equality, and the environment, contributing to 3.2 million premature deaths each year, says the report.

Other parts of the SDG7 agenda have fared better recently. Renewable energy has seen robust growth over the past two years, and energy efficiency improvements are gradually improving after a drop-off during the pandemic, according to the report.

It estimates that, under current policies, there will be 660 million people lacking electricity access and around 1.8 billion without access to clean cooking technologies and fuels by 2030. Progress in energy efficiency rates also lags, well below the level needed to reach the SDG7 target.

The authors of the report urge the international community to refocus efforts on providing the required financial, technological and policy support to close the access deficit and ensure that all countries and communities can benefit from accelerated renewable energy deployment and improved energy efficiency.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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