Access to energy, UNIDO, Enel and SEforALL change gear

Published on Monday, 15 May 2017

Unity makes you strong. But in this case, it brings energy. Enel and UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, have announced that they will be working together in the SEforALL Electrification Accelerator, the project launched last April in New York, at the SEforALL Forum 2017, by our CEO Francesco Starace and by the CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, Rachel Kyte.

UNIDO’s participation in the process was announced on the 11 May at the Vienna Energy Forum 2017. The event was organised by UNIDO, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, SEforALL and the Austrian Government and saw the participation of more than 1,200 representatives of institutions, businesses, academia, civil society and international organisations who met to discuss the central role of clean and accessible energy in the pursuit of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN’s 2030 Agenda and of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The partnership between Enel and UNIDO was presented by Robert Denda, Head of Global Network Technology at Enel, Monika Weber-Fahr, Chief Operating Officer of SEforAll and Philippe Scholtès, Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation at UNIDO.

“We are very proud to team up with UNIDO within the framework of SEforALL's electrification accelerator and help transform the power industry toward digitization, decentralization, electrification and an increasing contribution from renewables to achieve the objective of a more affordable and accessible energy,” stressed Starace in a note. “We have already taken a leading role in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and hunger, promote more equal energy access opportunities and improve living conditions of a large part of the world's population. Our work toward achieving these goals entails a major responsibility because electricity can really make a difference and change people's lives.”

[ “We are very proud to team up with UNIDO within the framework of SEforALL’s electrification accelerator and help transform the power industry towards digitization, decentralization, electrification and an increasing contribution from renewables to achieve the objective of a more affordable and accessible energy”, said Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and General Manager.

“We have already taken a leading role in supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and hunger, promote more equal energy access opportunities and improve life conditions of a large part of the world’s population. Our work towards achieving these goals entails a major responsibility because electricity can really make a difference and change people’s lives.”

The SEforALL Electrification Accelerator is meant to be the international meeting point for different actors to speed up the electrification of territories, creating skills in local communities and thus contributing both to the fight against climate change and to the achievement, by 2030, of the UN’s sustainable development goal #7 on universal access to energy.

It is a goal which requires though an even greater commitment. According to the State of Electricity Access Report (SEAR) 2017, prepared by World Bank and presented at the Vienna Energy Forum, in 2014, 1.06 billion people around the world (approximately three times the population of the United States), still lived without electricity. This means only a 0.3% improvement in the electrification process at global level compared to 2012.

According to the document, at this pace, only 91% of world population will have access to electricity in 2130 and only 72% will have clean energy for cooking. This problem affects above all the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, where the population and the demand for energy is growing much faster than electrification.

Hence the urgent need to accelerate electrification and to do so by focusing on renewable technologies, such as wind and solar energy. The report by the World Bank also states that the challenge is to quench the “thirst” for energy in developing countries through renewable technologies and at the same time to increase, in industrialised countries, the dependence on green sources in sectors such as heating and transportation which account for 80% of total energy consumption.