Energy poverty is a lack of access to modern energy services. These services are defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities (e.g. fuels and stoves that do not cause air pollution in houses).
Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development; and yet globally over 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people are without clean cooking facilities. More than 95% of these people are either in sub-Saharan African or developing Asia and 84% are in rural areas.
The lack of access to modern energy services is a serious hindrance to economic and social development, and must be overcome if the UN Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved.
For a decade, the World Energy Outlook (WEO) has highlighted the crucial role that energy access plays in a country’s development. During this time, it has developed its own databases on energy access, and published several substantive analytical reports on different elements of this issue. In order to inform the debate about how to overcome energy poverty, the IEA flagship publication has provided energy-poverty data, quantitative analysis and projections for energy use in developing countries. The WEO evaluates energy poverty in the global energy context to inform OECD governments, industry, the private sector and financial institutions.