Recalling his own experience in Korea growing up without electricity, the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon yesterday called for universal access to electricity by 2030.  He also stressed that a lack of energy in parts of the world threatens economic growth and job creation.

“We need an energy revolution,” Ban said at an energy conference in Oslo.

“We need energy not only to be universal, we need it to be clean and sustainable as well,” he added.

“For me, this is anything but academic. It is how I grew up in Korea. I studied by candlelight. Refrigerators, air-conditioning or a simple fan were just a far-off luxury that didn’t touch our lives.”

Improving access to energy was key to addressing global challenges like poverty, climate change, water scarcity, lacking health care and food shortages, Ban said.  (UN chief calls for universal access to energy)

The UN has set three goals to be achieved by 2030: universal access to modern energy services, a 40%  improvement in energy efficiency, and a doubling of renewable energy.

Yesterday the International Energy Agency (IEA).reported that 1.3 billion of the world’s 7 billion people have no access to electricity, while another 2.7 billion are without clean cooking facilities, using coal and wood for domestic tasks. 95% of those without electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa or poorer parts of Asia.

The IEA study shows that $48 billion is needed per year to guarantee access to modern energy services by 2030, or about five times the amount currently planned to be spent. According to IEA chief economist Fatih Birol:  “It is only three percent of the global energy investments.”




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