The role of decentralized energy in achieving universal access to energy
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The role of decentralized energy in achieving universal access to energy. MJ Ebenhack, President & CEO, AHEAD Energy David Sweet, Executive Director, World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE). Aid and International Development Forum June 8-9, 2011 Washington, DC USA.

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The role of decentralized energy in achieving universal access to energy

The role of decentralized energy in achieving universal access to energy

MJ Ebenhack, President & CEO, AHEAD Energy

David Sweet, Executive Director, World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE)

Aid and International Development Forum

June 8-9, 2011

Washington, DC USA


At issue

At Issue

  • >2.7* billion people rely on biomass (40% of global population)

    • >1.5* million premature deaths per year due to air pollution from cookstoves

    • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of greatest need

  • >1.4* billion people lack access to electricity (20% of the global population)

    • One billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks

    • 85%* of the “powerless” live in rural areas

    • Unreliable electricity service constrains economic activity and constitutes a severe obstacle to business operation and growth in developing countries.

  • Lack of access to improved energy services has alarming environmental impacts.

    • Soot (black carbon) from inefficient cookstoves, plays a significant role in global warming and air pollution.

    • Reliance on firewood/charcoal is a major contributor to deforestation.

    • *International Energy Agency, UNDP, & UNIDO, Energy poverty: How to make modern energy access universal, 2010


International response

“An intolerable situation.”

- OECD/IEA

“Shameful, unacceptable.”

-The Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC)

International Response

2012 designated by the United Nations as the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.” 

Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change is challenging the global community invest 36 billion annually to make universal access to modern energy services a reality by 2030. 

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves launched with a goal of 100 million efficient cookstoves sold by 2020.

Access to adequate, reliable, affordable, safe, clean and sustainable energy is being pushed as a human right.


The way forward

The way forward

  • Commitment from the international community to achieve universal access to electricity and clean cooking facilities.

  • Establishment of national goals for access to life-enhancing energy services.

  • Creation of sustainable financial, institutional, and technology frameworks and effective global strategies.

  • Develop human resource capacity in the energy sector.

  • Level the playing field.

  • Stabilize population growth.

  • Wise stewardship of energy.

  • Deploy decentralized energy.


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