This article has been reviewed according to Science X's editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content's credibility:

fact-checked

peer-reviewed publication

trusted source

proofread

Satellite data study shows 1.18 billion people are energy poor, finding no evidence of electricity usage from space

Light study shows 1.18 billion people are energy poor; no evidence of electricity usage from space
Credit: Joule (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2024.05.001

An international team of political scientists, data scientists, economists and environmental scientists has found, via study of satellite data, that approximately 1.18 billion people across the globe are energy-poor—viewed from space, they show no evidence of using electricity. In their study, reported in Joule, the researchers mapped artificial light on the ground as viewed by satellites at night for 3,000 nights.

Prior research has shown that it is sometimes not enough to bring electricity to distant communities in the developing world. People in such places tend to lack devices that run on electricity, such as simple light bulbs; thus, many are not able to take advantage of power availability. Earlier research has also shown that over 700 million people around the globe are in such a situation of energy poverty.

In this new effort, the research team sought to gain a more accurate assessment of the degree of lack of by people in developing countries. To that end, they embarked on a study of satellite imagery covering sub-Saharan Africa over the years 2013 to 2020.

To better understand how electricity might or might not be used by a given settlement, the team looked at images of settlements taken at night, when artificial light would make its way to an overhead satellite. To better assess the degree of light captured, the researchers compared the amount emitted by a settlement with nearby uninhabited land. They made such comparisons multiple times on different nights to ensure accuracy. They then extrapolated the data to make estimates regarding the rest of the world.

Satellite data study shows 1.18 billion people are energy poor, finding no evidence of electricity usage from space
Energy poverty in Africa, 2020. Credit: Joule (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2024.05.001

The researchers found that approximately 1.18 billion people use little or no electricity, making them energy-poor. They note that prior research has shown that the reasons people do not use vary, including lack of access, unaffordability and a lack of hardware, such as lamps and lightbulbs. They also note that their findings show that far more people are energy-poor than has been believed.

More information: Brian Min et al, Lost in the dark: A survey of energy poverty from space, Joule (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2024.05.001

Journal information: Joule

© 2024 Science X Network

Citation: Satellite data study shows 1.18 billion people are energy poor, finding no evidence of electricity usage from space (2024, May 31) retrieved 12 June 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-05-satellite-billion-people-energy-poor.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Carbon pricing and system reliability impacts pathways to universal electricity access in Africa

54 shares

Feedback to editors