Thursday, August 1, 2013

5 surprising facts about energy poverty



Energy poverty is a topic that some may know a lot about while others may know very little about. However, no matter how much or little you know, it is never too late to learn! Here are 5 surprising facts about energy poverty to help you get a kick start, or just add to your arsenal of knowledge!

-The first surprising fact about energy poverty is that progress to solving this problem has been severely undercut by the growth of the population. On paper, it may look like the number of people without electricity has not changed for years. However, between 1990 and 2010, electricity has been extended to 1.7 billion more people, and another 1.6 billion people have gained access to cleaner cooking fuels. During this same period of time thought, the population has grown 1.6 billion people, with a lot of this growth coming in areas with low electricity accessibility. According to the World Bank Report, in order to meet the energy access mark by 2030, expansion would have to double to keep up with the growing population.

-The next surprising fact about energy poverty is the countries that have moved the quickest to get electricity to more people still have the biggest problem. For example, since 1990 India has extended its grid to reach 24 million more people, while China has yielded savings over the past 20 years to an amount equal to the energy they used over that time frame. However, these countries still have the greatest challenges. India has 306.2 million people without electricity, with another 705 million people who rely on wood and biomass for cooking. China has 612.8 million people without clean fuel for cooking and heating.

-Another surprising fact about energy poverty is cooking smoke kills. You are probably wondering exactly what that means. Every year, an estimated 3.5 million people die from respiratory illness caused by harmful indoor air pollution from wood and biomass cook-stoves. To put that into perspective that is more than double the amount of deaths caused from malaria of HIV/AIDS.

-The next surprising fact about energy poverty is that there is some energy producing countries who are failing to deliver fuel or power to their own people. A great example of this is from the country of Nigeria. Nigeria is the second largest oil producing country in Africa, yet has the second most people living without electricity. This happens even thought Nigeria is sitting on the largest known natural gas reserves on the continent. Because they do not have an infrastructure for gathering or delivering gas, much of it is flared off.

-The final surprising fact about energy poverty that I am going to talk about is that wind power, solar energy, geothermal, waste, and marine energy barely contribute to 1 percent of global energy consumption. An estimated 80 percent of renewable energy comes from hydropower. The burning of wood and biomass also account for a large share. Even though the environmental sustainability of these practices is questionable, this is where the world’s energy comes from.

As you can see, there are a number of factors contributing to energy poverty worldwide. These 5 facts should help you to better understand the challenges that we face in reducing and ultimately eliminating this problem. By becoming educated on the multiple angles of this issue, we can make a difference! To read more visit: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/05/130529-surprising-facts-about-energy-poverty/

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