In its World Energy Outlook 2019 (WEO), the International Energy Agency states that close to one billion people worldwide have no or limited access to electricity, and that close to three billion people use wood, charcoal and biomass as their primary energy source. This impedes economic development, has a negative impact on health and contributes to deforestation and climate change.
The WEO also projects global demand for primary energy to grow by 1.3%, annually to 2040 if the world continues on its current course. The highest power demand growth between 2012-2030 is expected to come from developing and non-OECD countries, especially in Africa.
Even though renewable energy covers a substantial part of this growth, the WEO concludes that “the momentum behind clean energy technologies is not enough to offset the effects of an expanding global economy and growing population.”
At the same time, according to the WEO, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing, which is “cause for deep concern.”