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Measuring Energy Access: Supporting A Global Target

This paper was informed from an expert group meeting held at Columbia University, New York, on March 31, 2010.


The provision of modern energy services is recognised as a critical foundation for sustainable development. There are increasing discussions within the international community about establishing an international target for universal access to modern energy services. Such a target would provide a much needed political prioritisation and build on ongoing national activity. To ensure effectiveness, and to underpin delivery and policy formation, will require analytical work on both definitions and measurement. There is considerable precedent in the use of indicators and indices in the development and energy sectors. Drawing on that literature, we outline several options that could inform future work in this area. Such measurement and reporting tools will need to be simple, politically attractive, and analytically robust – a difficult balancing act. We propose that annual measurement and reporting at the national level be established in five to seven pilot countries through two composite indices and their respective indicators, and three to five new innovative and complementary metrics.

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