Unsteady and uneven progress has been made towards achieving the UN SE4All objectives, but it is not enough, and with more than 1 billion people still without electricity and many more still using unsafe cooking fuels, countries need to step up their efforts or the SE4All objectives will fall well short of their 2030 deadlines.
In 2012, the United Nations accepted the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) objectives for 2030, aiming to achieve universal access to modern electricity and clean cooking fuels, double the rate of energy efficiency improvements, and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Launched this week in New York, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and World Bank have published the third edition of the Global Tracking Framework 2017 — Progress Toward Sustainable Energy report, providing an update on the three primary objectives of SE4All.
Unfortunately, though there has been modest progress made, the overall news is not good, and a lot more needs to be done.
“The Global Tracking Framework demonstrates the urgency to speed up action on achieving Sustainable Energy for All,” said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director. “We at the IEA are proud to contribute once again to this key publication, which highlights the necessity of a global transition to clean, modern energy and ensure a prosperous and productive future for everyone.”
Global electrification only made small improvements between 2012 and 2014, reaching 85.3%, and a slowdown on previous years. This leaves more than 1 billion people without electricity. Nevertheless, there were some bright spots, with countries like Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Rwanda all making rapid progress, while other countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia are progressing rapidly by making greater use of off-grid solar energy.
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking made barely any headway, reaching 57.4% globally in 2014. Large population growth in countries such as Afghanistan and Nigeria is outpacing the growing availability of clean cooking fuels, and access in these countries has therefore actually been falling by about 1% per year since 2012. A single bright spot was Indonesia, which increased its access to clean cooking by more than 8% per year.
Energy efficiency was one of the areas where significant growth was recorded between 2012 and 2014, resulting in global energy savings equivalent to the entire energy consumption of Brazil and Pakistan combined in 2014. Fifteen of the world’s twenty high energy consumers reduced their energy intensity, with countries like China, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Russian Federation showing more than 2.6% reduction annually.
The report also highlighted the important role that industry is having in driving the energy efficiency improvements, while progress in the transport sector is also encouraging.
The share of renewable energies in the total final energy consumption climbed to 18.3%, continuing the slight acceleration, and well below what is needed to double its share to 36% in 2030. We have already seen the rapid growth of solar and wind account for a third of the expansion of renewable energy consumption between 2012 and 2014, but the fact that they are growing from such a small starting point means that further growth is vital.
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