Energy Progress Report: The World is Not on Track to Achieve SDG 7, but Progress is Accelerating
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report’ provides an overview of progress towards SDG 7, using UN approved indicators.

It concludes that global progress is insufficient to achieve SDG 7; however improvements in industrial energy efficiency and progress in some countries on renewable energy, energy access, and access to clean cooking fuels, indicates which policies are effective.

2 May 2018: The publication titled, ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report,’ released during the 4th Sustainable Energy for All Forum, shows that global progress is too slow to achieve access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 (SDG 7). The trends are particularly concerning regarding energy access and clean cooking fuels, whereas progress on energy efficiency and renewable energy is accelerating.

The publication provides a global overview on progress towards SDG 7 and its targets relating to energy access including access to clean cooking fuels, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It concludes that the rate of progress on all targets is insufficient to achieve SDG 7. At the same time, the analysis shows that the rate of increasing access to electricity has recently overtaken the rate of population growth for the first time, and that energy efficiency is increasing in the industrial sector. The publication further notes that country experiences indicate which mix of targeted policies and international support can be successful in promoting clean energy and energy access around the world.

“We must be more ambitious in harnessing the power of renewable energy to meet sustainable development and climate goals, and take more deliberate action to achieve a sustainable energy future.” – Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA

Presenting the report at the 4th Sustainable Energy for All Forum, held from 2-3 May 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said, “the report is an important signal that we must be more ambitious in harnessing the power of renewable energy to meet sustainable development and climate goals, and take more deliberate action to achieve a sustainable energy future.”

Specific findings on SDG 7 targets include:

  • Access to electricity: One billion people (13% of the world population) continue to live without electricity. At current rates, 674 million people would remain without access to electricity in 2030. Experience in a few countries has shown that home solar energy systems or mini-grids are a promising technology to provide access in rural areas.
  • Access to clean cooking fuels: Three billion people (40% of the world population) remain without access to clean cooking fuels. The resulting indoor air pollution causes approximately 4 million deaths per year. The main reasons for lack of progress are low consumer awareness, financing gaps, slow technological progress and lack of fuel distribution infrastructure.
  • Energy efficiency: Global GDP continues to decouple from growth in energy demand with energy intensity declining on average 2.2% per year, compared to 2.6% required to double energy efficiency by 2030. Progress was driven by improved energy efficiency in the industrial sector, whereas the transport and heating sectors are lagging. Several large economies show signs that their primary energy use demand has peaked.
  • Renewable energy: Modern renewable energy use (excluding traditional uses of biomass) has increased to 9.6% of global energy consumption and is projected to reach 21% by 2030 under current policies. This is insufficient to achieve the “substantial increase” required under target 7.2 and to mitigate climate change. While falling costs have accelerated growth in renewable electricity to 22.8% per year in some countries, electricity only represented 20% of final energy consumption in 2015. Growth in the use of renewables in transport and heating is much slower at 2.8% per year.

The report was published jointly by the custodian agencies for SDG 7, which include the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), UN Statistics Division, World Bank Group, and World Health Organization (WHO). [IRENA Press Release] [Report Abstract] [Publication: Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report] [IEA Press Release] [IEA Commentary] [SeeforAll Press Release]


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