Universal Access to Affordable Clean Energy
In a rapidly evolving world, energy is the lifeblood that fuels progress, development, and well-being. Access to reliable and sustainable energy sources is crucial for achieving economic growth, eradicating poverty, improving healthcare, and mitigating climate change. In this awareness, the United Nations has set forth Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030. In this comprehensive narrative blog, we will delve into the overview, significance, progress, challenges, and the way forward for SDG 7.
Unveiling Sustainable Development Goal 7
One of the 17 interrelated global goals is SDG 7, which aims to provide everyone with access to affordable, dependable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030. By concentrating on five main priority targets, it aims to change the global energy landscape. These goals include ensuring that everyone has access to reasonably priced, dependable, and contemporary energy services, significantly raising the proportion of renewable energy sources in the world's energy mix, doubling the rate of energy efficiency growth worldwide, fostering international cooperation to increase access to clean energy technologies, and bolstering the infrastructure and capacity for sustainable energy.
Why It Matters
To understand how central clean energy is to the 2030 Agenda, let's look at some factsheets about SDG7.
The global electricity access rate rose from 83% in 2010 to 91% in 2020.
The number of people without electricity decreased from 1.2 billion to 733 million during the same period.
The annual electricity access rate increase averaged 0.5 percentage points from 2018 to 2020, compared to 0.8 percentage points between 2010 and 2018.
At the current pace, it is projected that 92% of the world's population will have access to electricity by 2030, leaving 670 million people unserved.
Economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in up to 90 million people in Africa and developing countries in Asia being unable to afford extended electricity services in 2020.
Between 2010 and 2020, the proportion of people with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies increased from 57% to 69%.
However, in 2020, 4 billion people still relied on inefficient and polluting cooking systems.
The share of renewables in total final energy consumption reached 17.7% in 2019, a 1.6 percentage point increase from 2010.
Promoting renewable energy sources is crucial for achieving sustainable energy goals.
Global primary energy intensity (energy efficiency) improved from 5.6 megajoules per US dollar in 2010 to 4.7 in 2019, with an average annual improvement rate of 1.9%.
To meet the energy efficiency target, the annual rate of improvement until 2030 will need to average 3.2% per year.
Financing Clean Energy:
International public financial flows to support clean energy in developing countries amounted to $10.9 billion in 2019, representing a decrease of nearly 24% compared to the previous year.
Loans accounted for over 52% of commitments in 2019, while grants comprised almost 17%.
Collective investment vehicle shares grew to $191 million in 2019, a 91% increase from 2018.
Why Does Sustainable Development Goal 7 Matter?
Access to clean and affordable energy is a fundamental human right. The successful attainment of SDG7 will unlock a realm of possibilities for millions of individuals, presenting them with new economic prospects and employment opportunities. It will also empower women, children, and youth, fostering improved education and healthcare services. Additionally, it will promote the growth of just, inclusive, and sustainable communities while supplying better defenses and resilience against the harmful effects of climate change. We can create a future with many advantages and opportunities for both individuals and societies by attaining SDG7.
A Journey Towards Sustainable Development Goal 7
According to the latest data, there has been some progress towards sustainable energy targets worldwide. However, it is evident that the current rate of progress is inadequate to reach Goal 7 by the year 2030 2 , thus, there are still significant disparities in access to modern and sustainable energy, which continue to persist2 . Significant progress has been made toward SDG 7, but challenges persist. Between 2010 and 2020, the global rate of electricity access witnessed a rise from 83 percent to 91 percent. This improvement led to a decrease in the number of people without access to electricity, reducing their count from 1.2 billion to 733 million. The use of renewable energy has also grown significantly, making up a sizable share of the world's energy supply. Initiatives to improve energy efficiency have also successfully decreased energy use. Although there has been progress, it has been unequal, with millions of people, particularly in rural areas and lowincome countries, still lacking access to modern energy services.
Despite progress, some obstacles prevent SDG 7 from being fully realised. Since investments in clean energy infrastructure and the implementation of technology require significant funding, financing continues to be a significant barrier. To entice investments from the private sector and assist the development of the energy industry, it is also necessary to reinforce the frameworks of policy and regulation. Additionally, to increase access to energy in isolated and underdeveloped areas, creative techniques and inclusive strategies that take into account the particular requirements of local populations are required.
A multifaceted strategy is required to hasten progress toward SDG 7. To encourage investments in renewable energy, create creative financing methods, and progress technological developments, governments, international organizations, private sector companies, and civil society must work together. In national development plans, policymakers should give priority to energy access while assuring the accessibility, dependability, and sustainability of energy services. Prioritising capacity building, information exchange, and technology transfer is essential if communities and nations are to be empowered in their energy transitions.
SDG 7 addresses the pressing need for clean, cheap, and accessible energy for all, acting as a potent engine for sustainable development. We can promote economic growth, safeguard the environment, and enhance the lives of billions of people globally by achieving the goals outlined in SDG 7. The path to achieving universal access to renewable energy calls for coordinated effort, constant dedication, and creative solutions. Let's embrace SDG 7's revolutionary potential and collaborate to forge a more promising and sustainable future for future generations.
 The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019. United Nations Publication Issued by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 64. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2022/%