IEA (2020), SDG7: Data and Projections, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/sdg7-data-and-projections
The International Energy Agency is at the forefront of global efforts to assess and analyse persistent energy access deficit, providing annual country-by-country data on access to electricity and clean cooking (SDG 7.1) and the main data source for tracking official progress towards SDG targets on renewables (SDG 7.2) and energy efficiency (SDG 7.3).
The adoption of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 marked a new level of political recognition of the importance of energy to development. For the first time, this included a target to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – collectively known as Sustainable Development Goal 7, or SDG 7.
In support of these efforts, the IEA developed the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) in World Energy Outlook 2017. The SDS combines ambitious climate policy (SDG 13) with significant action on achieving energy access (SDG 7.1) and creating cleaner air (SDG 3) – an integrated approach that speaks to energy policy priorities in a very wide range of countries. The IEA is also the lead custodian agency for SDG 7.2 on renewable energy and 7.3 on energy efficiency in addition to being custodian of SDG target 12.c, which aims to rationalise inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.
Read on to explore the IEA's latest data and analysis on targets under Sustainable Developement Goals 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3.
In 2019, the number of people without electricity access dropped to 770 million, a record low in recent years. However, progress continues to be uneven, and - even more alarming - the Covid-19 pandemic is reversing this positive trend. In sub-Saharan Africa, a region already home to 75% of the global population without access in 2019, the number of people without access to electricity is set to increase in 2020 after having steadily declined over the past six years.
Over 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean cooking facilities, relying instead on solid biomass, kerosene or coal as their primary cooking fuel. This figure has gradually decreased from 2.9 billion in 2010. Nonetheless, current policies are far from being sufficient to achieve universal access by 2030, even more considering the additional challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic; efforts need to dramatically accelerate to put the world on track.
In 2018, the share of modern renewables rose to almost 11% of total final energy consumption, having steadily increased since the 2000s. Nonetheless, an acceleration is needed to realise a substantial increase, as set out in SDG target 7.2.
Target 7.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals requires a doubling in the global rate of improvement of in energy efficiency relative to average improvement rate of 1.3% over the period 1990 to 2010. In 2018 the energy intensity of the global economy improved by 1.2%, slower than the 1.7% improvement seen in 2017 and well below the rate of improvement required to meet the 2030 target.