The energy progress report concludes that ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 is still possible but that more financial and political commitment is required. The number of people without electricity fell from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 840 million today, with India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Myanmar among the countries making the most progress. Leila Mead explains in an article on the SDG Knowledge Hub website of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
SDG 7 Report Warns 650 Million People Could Lack Electricity Access in 2030 Without Sustained Effort
The world is failing to meet global energy targets despite significant progress, according to a report that tracks progress on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and highlights efforts to deploy renewable energy technology for electricity generation and improve energy efficiency.
The report titled, ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report,’ tracks global, regional and country progress on the three SDG 7 targets: 7.1 on universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services; 7.2 on increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; and 7.3 on doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
Produced by the five SDG 7 custodian agencies – the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) – the report concludes that ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 is still possible but that more financial and political commitment is required. It finds that the number of people without electricity fell from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 840 million today, with India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Myanmar among the countries making the most progress. However, the authors caution, without more sustained efforts, 650 million people (or 8% of the global population) will still lack access to electricity in 2030, with 90% of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking about the report, Riccardo Puliti, World Bank, highlighted the “encouraging” progress over the last few years, but recognized that “we still have a great deal of work to do” as much of the population without electricity access “lives in the poorest countries and most remote locations.” Puliti said that the World Bank has committed USD 5 billion to access programmes over the past five years.
The publication emphasizes the need for reliability and affordability for sustainable energy access, and calls for combining grid and off-grid solutions, including solar lighting, solar home systems and mini grids. In 2017, it notes, at least 34 million people gained access to basic electricity services through off-grid technologies, but almost three billion people lacked access to clean cooking, leading to health and socioeconomic concerns. According to the report, under current and planned policies, 2.2 billion people will still be dependent on inefficient and polluting energy sources for cooking in 2030, leading to environmental, health and gender equality impacts.
With regard to renewable energy sources, the report notes that in 2016, renewables accounted for 17.5% of global total energy consumption. While renewables have been increasing their share in electricity generation, their use for heat and transport has lagged behind. The report states that policies must cover integration of renewables into the broader energy system and consider the socioeconomic impacts of this transition.
The publication calls for long-term energy planning, increased private financing, and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to ensure more rapid deployment of new technologies. It also calls for strengthening mandatory energy efficiency policies, providing targeted fiscal or financial incentives, leveraging market-based mechanisms, and raising awareness and providing information about energy efficiency.
[Publication: Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report.