One Goal, Two Paths: Achieving Universal Access to Modern Energy in East Asia and Pacific
Achieving universal access to modern energy is within the reach of countries in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) Region in the next two decades.
Despite impressive economic growth, over 1 billion people still lack the most basic access to electricity and modern cooking solutions in EAP.
With every second household in the region depending on solid fuels for cooking, indoor air pollution is a major health risk factor related to over 650,000 premature deaths in East Asia and Pacific every year.
Women and children are especially vulnerable to this exposure which, in the case of particulate matter in indoor smoke, can reach up to 20 times the safety levels recommended by the World Health Organization.
This report outlines an ambitious program for the eradication of energy poverty in EAP by 2030. To achieve it, it urges governments to work simultaneously on two paths:
First, achieving universal electricity access by accelerating both grid and off-grid programs while employing appropriate policies and innovative technical solutions to reduce costs, improve reliability, and provide timely service to all households.
Second, a major push is needed to increase access to clean cooking fuels (natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and biogas) and advanced cooking stoves, particularly for biomass in poor rural areas.
Both of these paths are affordable. The combined investments required for a “universal access” to electricity, modern cooking fuels, and advanced cooking stoves are estimated at US$78 billion over the next two decades. This amount represents an increase of US$32 billion over the amount required to maintain the “business-as-usual” scenario over the same period.
While the annual incremental investment is only 0.1% of the regional GDP (excluding China) most of the poorer EAP countries will require significant support from donors and multilateral institutions in order to reach the goal of universal access to modern energy by 2030.