March 08, 2022
News /
Posted by NCID

As of 2021, around 800 million people across the developing world lack access to electricity. Even though enabling universal access to electricity by 2030 is the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #7, and despite the efforts of many institutions, NGOs, and private parties to reduce energy poverty, achieving this goal remains a costly challenge. Moreover, traditional methods of electricity generation often involve the use of fossil fuels which contribute to climate change.

The researcher Raúl Bajo-Buenestado spoke about this issue in an interview on Radio Africanía: "Three quarters of the 800 million people in the world who lack access to electricity are in Sub-Saharan Africa. We estimate that some 50 billion are needed of investment per year until 2023 to meet the United Nations goal, so I think it will not be achieved, Bajo explained.

The researcher from the University of Navarra has explained that there are different options for generating electricity in developing countries: centralized systems through a national network, decentralized solutions with the location of solar panels in the homes themselves and intermediate ones with generators for supply several towns at the same time.

"We are talking about solar technologies, but also natural gas generators, thermal power plants or dams that allow water to be regulated with hydroelectric plants. We have to see which is the lowest cost alternative in each case, taking into account the available resources, the population density, the existence of its own national network, the needs of the population and the possible conflicts between local and national interests without forgetting the environmental issue", Raúl Bajo has explained on Radio Africanía.

The professor of Economics at the University of Navarra has assured that "a very interesting debate is whether to take advantage of the energy gap to promote more environmental energies in Africa from the beginning, but we must also bear in mind that this is a challenge that maybe it can be too big for these countries".

Lastly, Bajo also explained the research he is leading in Tanzania: "We have seen that in ten years small electricity generation networks have doubled because the national system is precarious and it has been seen that in remote areas decentralized solutions can be a good option. We have also detected that where these small networks have been installed, the light has increased and that means that the population is having greater access to electricity".