Stories by Todd Moss

Expert Voices

As global energy access improves, cost and reliability lag

electric wiring draped over homes
Electric wires in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

Progress continues to be made on global energy access, with the latest report from the International Energy Agency finding that 89% of the world’s population is connected to electricity.

The big picture: These impressive, rapid gains have kept the world on track toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7): modern energy access for all by 2030. As household access improves, the agenda to combat energy poverty is shifting to affordable and reliable access for business.

Expert Voices

Global energy programs expand access but aim too low on goals

A woman in Madagascar working outside at night in lamplight
A woman working by solar-powered lamplight in the village of Ambakivao, Madagascar. Photo: Laure Fillon/AFP/Getty Images

Electrification initiative Power Africa has been faulted in a USAID Inspector General report for overstating the impact of its development efforts by counting the delivery of solar lanterns as new electricity connections.

Why it matters: Accurate measures of progress are essential for reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7: to ensure reliable and affordable energy worldwide by 2030. Although global energy access has expanded, strengthening the measures used to track it could help make a more meaningful impact.