IEA Chief Stresses Positive Impacts of Achieving Universal Energy Access

IEA14 June 2012: In an article published in the Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book, Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), underlines that making access to modern energy services universal would have no real negative impact on energy security or climate change globally, but rather would radically improve the lives of billions of energy poor.

She highlights that currently, 1.3 billion people lack access to reliable and affordable electricity and 2.7 billion to clean cooking facilities, and therefore do not benefit from their positive effects on poverty eradication, education, health, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. Underlining the importance of renewable energy technologies in addressing energy challenges in developing countries, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, van der Hoeven underscores that "the 20 million inhabitants of New York consume roughly the same quantity of electricity each year as the 849 million people of sub-Saharan Africa.” She notes that the annual investment needed for achieving universal access to sustainable energy would be 48 billion, the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies in 2009. [IEA Press Release] [Publication: Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book]