Rapid growth can make the future
better than the present. The IEA’s new
policies scenario (including countries’
commitments and plans regarding energy
use) projects that developing Asia’s
tion without electricity will decline
substantially to 334 million by 2030, which
translates into a decline from 18% to 8%.
The IEA is more pessimistic about movement away from traditional fuels,
estimating that the number of people without clean cooking facilities in
India in 2030 will still be more than twice the population of the United
States today (IEA 2012a). It further estimates that achieving its vision of
Energy for All, or universal access to modern energy by 2030, will require
3.5 times more investment to this end than is contemplated in the new
policy scenario and 5.3 times investment in 2009. The current outlay
is less than $10 billion globally. The additional investment will extend
supply to heretofore unserved populations and build capacity to meet the
ADB projections show every Asian subregion having to spend less
of its income on electricity in 2035 than in 2012. Figure 2.1.12 shows that
electricity expenditure as a fraction of GDP per capita (wealth per capita)
will be lower in 2035 (vertical axis) than it was in 2012 (horizontal axis)
for all subregions because they all lie below the solid line that indicates
equal shares of income spent on electricity in both years (expenditure
will be unchanged but low in developed Asia). While this analysis does
not directly indicate that all energy sources will be more affordable
or accessible, it does show a key component of energy becoming more
affordable for the poor. Importantly, however, improved energy access and affordability is not preordained, as these projections assume that
the cost of electricity reflects the forecast mix of primary energy used
to generate it. As we have seen, this mix creates a number of thorny
environmental problems, as well as broadly worsening energy security
The less-optimistic scenario for Asia’s energy future, based on current
trends, paints a stark picture. It suggests that Asia will be hard pressed
to secure enough energy supply to achieve the rapid growth required for
widespread poverty reduction. Further, high growth in energy supply
needs to be accompanied by significant quality changes to protect the
environment and ensure affordable access. This threefold challenge of
energy supply adequacy, environmental sustainability, and affordable
access requires a multipronged approach. The region needs to aggressively
explore all options by which to curb its burgeoning energy demand, tap
new energy supply, and foster regional market synergies that maximize
the gains achieved on both sides of the demand–supply equation.
--- Source: Fueyo, Gomez, and Dopazo, forthcoming.
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