An excellent new article has provided some detailed information on how India is confronting energy poverty, and what a long road is still ahead.
This report does well to treat this important situation as objectively as possible, and not get carried away with net zero slogans and renewable energy worship.
Importantly, the focus of the article is on the massive amount of additional energy that will be required to lift millions of Indians out of energy poverty – the figures are truly mind-boggling and the writer is honest enough to avoid calling only for renewable sources and demonise fossil fuels.
Having said that, he also mostly avoids even fleeting references to fossil fuels, although that is understandable these days given the push back and vitriol that activists and misinformed do-gooders feel more than comfortable throwing around at even the most well intentioned campaigners for reductions in energy poverty.
It’s a shame that such commentators and researchers have to tread such a fine line when it comes to mentioning energy supply and climate, given the huge challenges that reducing energy poverty entails, but the battle continues and perhaps a colder than average Northern hemisphere winter in 2021-2022 will change the stakes a little.
The current approach to fighting energy poverty is to provide basic electricity access for every household, which is the pre-requisite to measure success towards SDG 7. The current minimum threshold for achieving ‘energy access’ is just 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per person per year. This amount of energy is not adequate to help people improve their livelihoods, and lifestyles. This is barely enough to power a few lights, or charge a mobile phone, let alone stimulating an economy and creating jobs. So, despite some of these households technically having access to electricity, they are not able to leverage the same to escape the poverty trap.
ARTICLE / SOURCE:
Productive use of energy can help in fight against poverty – Money Control