According new Energy Access Outlook 2017 efforts to promote electricity access are having a positive impact in all regions, and the pace of progress has accelerated. The number of people without access to electricity fell to below 1.1 billion people for the first time in 2016, with nearly 1.2 billion people having gained access since 2000, 500 million of which were in India. Most progress has been made in developing Asia, where 870 million gained access since 2000, of which India account for 500 million gaining access – one of the largest electrification success stories in history. There is also for the first time a positive trend in sub-Saharan Africa, where electrification efforts have been outpacing population growth since 2014. However, progress is uneven, and there are still more people without electricity today than there were in 2000.
Of the 1.2 billion people who have gained access since 2000, nearly all have gained access via connection to the main grid, with 70% of people getting access with power generated from fossil fuels (45% coal, 19% natural gas and 7% oil). However, the declining costs of renewables and efficient end-user appliances, along with innovative business models financing electricity access, are all having an impact, and have been transforming the energy access landscape, especially in rural areas. Over the last five years, renewables have started to gain ground, as have off-grid and mini-grid systems, and this shift is expected to accelerate. Over the past five years, renewables (mainly hydro and geothermal) have been the source of over one-third of new connections, and decentralised renewables are the source of 6% of new electricity access.