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Rural Electrification in Southeast Asia

Around 160.3 million people in Southeast Asia haven’t had any access to electricity and almost 80% of them live in rural and remote areas.

Rural electrification is the process of bringing electricity to rural and remote areas. Electricity is being used not only for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows people to perform mechanization of many farming operations, such as threshing, milking, and hoisting grain for storage; in areas facing labor shortages, it resulted greater productivity at lower cost.

Energy alone is insufficient to maintain economic growth, but it is certainly necessary and access to electricity is one of the clearest and undistorted indications of a country’s energy poverty status.

Southeast Asia has made dramatic efforts in increasing the electrification rates in both rural and urban areas with an electrification rate jumping from 42.8% to 60.2% in only 6 years. Singapore led the progress by reaching full electrification of 100%, followed by Brunei Darussalam (99.7%), Malaysia (99.4%), Thailand (99.3%), and Vietnam (89.30%). However, Myanmar still stays at very low rate of 13%, Cambodia at 24% and Indonesia alone has more than 80 million people without access to electricity. In total, there are still 160.3 million people in the region has no access to electricity and almost 80% of them live in rural and remote areas.

For comparison, The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2008 1.5 billion people, or 22% of the world’s population, had no access to electricity, of whom 85% live in rural areas. Since 2002, this number has decreased worldwide by 161 million, despite the growth of more than 500 million world population. However, in global the situation is improving with regional developments that diverge even more. Whereas Latin America and Asia have substantially accelerated their electrification, most of Sub Saharan Africa lacks behind and does not even keep up with the population growth.


(You may find complete article here, The world’s best thinkers on energy & climate)

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