The world could achieve full energy penetration -- with even the most rural areas gaining access to electricity -- for just a fraction of what we now spend on international energy investments, according to a study published in Environmental Research Letters. The report -- which factors in the cost of investing in power generation, grid expansion, infrastructure maintenance and subsidies for appliances such as clean-burning stoves -- found that universal access to modern energy could be achieved by 2030 with annual expenditures of $65 billion, roughly 4% of current outlays.

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