Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7 billion, and as the global population continues to rise so will the demand for cheap energy. A global economy reliant on fossil fuels, and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is impacting every continent.
Efforts to encourage clean energy has resulted in more than 20 percent of global power being generated by renewable sources as of 2011. But still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world.
The Arab region is well known as hosting the world’s leading reserves of oil and natural gas, but it also has the planet’s highest levels of solar radiation. Many Arab countries have yet to develop renewable energy capacity, making up just 7% of the region’s energy mix. Meanwhile, electricity demand is growing at more than 77% per year, faster than the global average, while many countries now seeking to meet this demand through renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. This is of particularly benefit for poor in the region, 40% of whom lack access to sustainable energy, and for communities displaced by conflict for whom lack of energy access stands as an important barrier to recovery.
Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment.
Goals in action
Bashir El Rayyes High School, an all girls’ school, is one of the 398 schools in the Gaza Strip currently affected by the electricity crisis. Since 2006, Gaza has been facing chronic electrical shortages, exacerbated by the most recent crisis in Gaza, which damaged related infrastructure and Gaza’s sole power plant. MORE >
In the city of Burao, like in other areas of Somaliland, electricity is one of the most expensive commodities. Electricity is provided by a number of private companies, using generators that consume a lot of fuel, making electricity one of the biggest challenges to both development and investment as people struggle with high electricity bills. MORE >
Teachers and students at 25 public schools in South Lebanon are to benefit from a constant supply of electricity to their offices and classrooms following installation of solar panels that provide an alternative to expensive and polluting diesel generators. MORE >