The number of people without access to electricity fell below one billion, while updated data also shows a gradual decline in the number of people without clean cooking facilities, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a recent report.
According to the World Energy Outlook 2018, India completed the electrification of all villages in early 2018 amid plans to reach universal access to electricity by the early 2020s.
Additionally, 400 million people have gained access to clean cooking since 2011 in India and China as a result of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) programs and clean air policies.
"Despite significant steps forward in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria, more than 600 million people are still without access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, and nearly 2.7 billion people worldwide still do not have access to clean cooking," the IEA warned.
- Air pollution, premature deaths and electricity access
According to the IEA, currently, energy-related outdoor air pollution leads to around 2.9 million premature deaths globally and household air pollution, mostly from smoke due to cooking, is linked to more than 2.6 million premature deaths.
By 2030, 650 million people will still be without electricity access, almost all in Africa, and 2.2 billion people worldwide will still cook with solid fuels, the report showed.
According to the report, lower levels of air pollutants are insufficient to halt an increase in premature deaths linked to outdoor air pollution, projected to rise through 2030 to reach 4 million annually by 2040.
Energy-related CO2 emissions are set to rise gradually to 35.8 gigatonnes in 2040, the IEA said.
However, the Sustainable Development Scenario envisages that efforts will deliver universal access to electricity and clean cooking facilities by 2030.
In this scenario, it is only sharp reductions in emissions of air pollutants that will lead to significantly cleaner air, while bringing considerable health benefits. Premature deaths from outdoor air pollution are set to be half a million lower in 2040 than today based on this sustainable development scenario.
Achieving universal access to clean water and sanitation would add less than 1 percent to global energy demand in 2030, the report concluded.
By Gulsen Cagatay