A new report is urging international energy stakeholders to help facilitate the widespread adoption of digital payment options to bring clean power to billions.

The Sustainable Energy for All  (SEforALL) initiative has released a study – produced by the Better Than Cash Alliance – which calls on governments, utilities, private investors and ‘off-grid innovators’ to work together in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) number 7: ‘to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’. The paper opens with the fact that one billion people live in darkness, and three billion people light open fires in their homes every day to eat.

“By implementing targeted and progressive policies, including incorporating digital payments into energy access agendas, it is estimated that 150 million people annually can gain access to electricity by 2030, the minimum necessary for universal access, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank,” the report states.

“This study finds that if the world is to achieve universal energy access, the expansion of digital payments and the development of inclusive digital payments ecosystems will be critical. The study also finds that decoupling economic growth from the growth of greenhouse gas emissions will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if cash remains the dominant method of transaction, particularly in developing countries.”