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Projected energy affordability in Asia
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 population w... ithout 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 additional demand. 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 (Box 2.1.2). 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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