Addressing the Energy Challenges: Needs and Perspectives
The quest for long-term sustainable energy supplies and the imperative of environmentally sound energy use are the two main interrelated aspects of the vital energy discussion that underpin today’s global agenda. Energy considerations are of paramount importance to key global concerns such as climate change, sustainable development, poverty reduction and economic growth.
Sustainable development underlines the need to manage energy resources judiciously; on the other hand, no development can occur without access to basic energy services. Access to energy is required in all economic and social sectors, and inequality in capacity to access energy resources, and to utilise such resources for development purposes, results in further inequality in wealth distribution, be it in terms of social welfare or economic competitiveness.
It is to be recalled that, globally over 1.3 billion people still remain without electricity access and more than 95% of them are either in Africa or Asia. Recognizing that access to energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which would help to reduce poverty, the United Nations launched the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ Decade (SE4ALL). Furthermore, the revived interest in alternative and renewable energy resources, combined with the substantial advances in the related science and technology in recent decades, justifies the priority given to addressing energy sustainability and access also reflected in the new set of SDGs that includes energy (Goal 7).