Shonali Pachauri1, Bas J van Ruijven2,3, Yu Nagai1,4, Keywan Riahi1, Detlef P van Vuuren2,5, Abeeku Brew-Hammond6 and Nebojsa Nakicenovic1,4Show affiliations
A lack of access to modern energy impacts health and welfare and impedes development for billions of people. Growing concern about these impacts has mobilized the international community to set new targets for universal modern energy access. However, analyses exploring pathways to achieve these targets and quantifying the potential costs and benefits are limited. Here, we use two modelling frameworks to analyse investments and consequences of achieving total rural electrification and universal access to clean-combusting cooking fuels and stoves by 2030. Our analysis indicates that these targets can be achieved with additional investment of US$200565–86 billion per year until 2030 combined with dedicated policies. Only a combination of policies that lowers costs for modern cooking fuels and stoves, along with more rapid electrification, can enable the realization of these goals. Our results demonstrate the critical importance of accounting for varying demands and affordability across heterogeneous household groups in both analysis and policy setting. While the investments required are significant, improved access to modern cooking fuels alone can avert between 0.6 and 1.8 million premature deaths annually in 2030 and enhance well being substantially.