The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030. Access to electricity services is of course a key priority under this goal, particularly due to the strong interconnections it has with other development objectives. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest electricity access deficit in the world with nine out of ten people living without electricity in 2030 projected to be in this region, despite progress in terms of expanding access to electricity. Planning for expanding electricity infrastructure and prioritizing financial support in sub-Saharan Africa requires up-to-date information on the status of electricity access and use at sub-national scales. Official statistics for tracking and monitoring developmental indicators, however, usually only tell a very limited story, and care is needed to interpret them. Achieving this ambitious goal globally, therefore presents significant challenges.
In their study published in the journal Scientific Data, researchers from IIASA and the Future Energy Program at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Italy, examined the precision with which nighttime satellite images can be converted into spatially detailed maps of electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa. They further investigated whether remotely sensed data on light intensity could provide a proxy for electricity access quality beyond a binary measure of access and if it could help to identify regions that lack access to electricity, as well as hotspots where progress in terms of providing access is stalled or regressing. The team’s satellite derived dataset was able to provide an accurate prediction of not only where people have access to electricity and where not, but their measure of light intensity could also provide an accurate proxy for the amount of residential electricity consumption in a particular area.
Read more at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Photo credit: PIRO4D via Pixabay