SDG-7: AFFORDABLE & CLEAN ENERGY

There is no development without fueling the engine of growth. Energy is critical and people with no sustainable access to energy are deprived of the opportunity to become part of national and global progress. Lack of access to energy supplies and transformation systems is a constraint to human and economic development. However, a global economy reliant on fossil fuels, and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is impacting every continent. Increased use of fossil fuels without actions to mitigate greenhouse gases will have global climate change implications. The environment provides a series of renewable and non-renewable energy sources i.e. solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biofuels, natural gas, coal, petroleum, uranium. Maintaining and protecting ecosystems allow using and further developing hydropower sources of electricity and bioenergy.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT?

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said, “Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability. With access to energy, people can study, go to university, get a job, start a business – and reach their full potential.” Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today – security, climate change, food production, jobs or increasing incomes. Sustainable energy generates opportunity – it transforms lives, economies and the planet. There are tangible health benefits to having access to electricity, and a demonstrable improvement in well being. Energy access therefore constitutes a core component of the sustainable development agenda for energy. The production of usable energy can also be a source for climate change – accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, Goal 7 of the SDGs aims to correct this enormous imbalance by ensuring everyone has access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services by the year 2030. To expand energy access, it is crucial to enhance energy efficiency and to invest in renewable energy. 

SOME FACTS & FIGURES

·        From 78 per cent to 87 per cent, with the absolute number of people living without electricity dipping to just below 1 billion from 2000 to 2016, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased.

  • In the least developed countries, the proportion of the people with access to electricity more than doubled between 2000 and 2016.
  • The share of renewable in final energy consumption increased modestly, from 17.3 per cent in 2014 to 17.5 per cent in 2015. Yet only 55 per cent of the renewable share was derived from modern forms of renewable energy.
  • Global energy intensity decreased by 2.8 per cent from 2014 to 2015, double the rate of improvement seen between 1990 and 2010.
  • In 2016, 3 billion people (41 per cent of the world’s population) were still cooking with polluting fuel and stove combinations.
  • Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

INDIA & GOAL 7

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is set to contribute 1/4th of the projected rise in global energy demand by 2040. It is already the fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, USA, and the EU, and as it creates more and better opportunities for its people, leading to improved living standards, emissions will continue to rise. Alongside the goal of bringing electricity to hundreds of millions of people, India has also set significant voluntary targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It has committed to reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, and to boost renewable energy capacity to 40 percent by 2030, as well as to ensure that 40 percent of electricity requirement will be met through non-fossil fuels.

                       The Government of India has also set an ambitious target of generating 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. Its leadership on the International Solar Alliance (along with France) signals its commitment. As a result, annual investments in solar power could surpass investments in coal by 2019-20, with US$35 billion committed by global players. Therefore, by 2020, solar energy could be cheaper than coal. The energy access market (through only decentralized renewable energy, DRE) in India is estimated at US$400 million. Globally, when renewable energy use is doubled, world GDP is expected to expand to US$1.3 trillion. Market-based approaches to unlock energy efficiency opportunities are estimated to be worth more than US$11 billion.

FACTS & FIGURES

·        Nearly 80% people have access to electricity in India now.

·        100% villages have been electrified in India.

·        Power cables from the grid have reached a transformer in each village but 31 million houses still without electricity.

·        10 crore LPG connections have been given to households by the Government of India.

·        India ranks third in oil consumption after USA and China in 2017.

·        Nearly 80% of total electricity generated (utility and captive) in India is from coal.

·        Presently, only 20% of house holds in India use biomass and charcoal for cooking purpose as LPG use for cooking purpose is rising rapidly.

·        Solar power in India is a fast developing industry. The country’s solar installed capacity reached 26 GW as of 30 September 2018.

The scale of India’s ambitions to expand its renewable energy capacity opens the door for business and private sector to work alongside central and state governments to pilot innovative renewable energy technologies. Through innovative and grid-complementing DRE solutions, such as home energy systems and renewable energy mini-grids, businesses can help ensure last mile connectivity for remote communities. Investment in solar energy and efficient storage via lithium-ion based batteries, the cornerstone of expanding renewable energy use, is key. Sector-building through innovative business models and financial institutions, such as green infrastructure bonds to raise funds to provide debt financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, could be another key area for intervention.

As has been mentioned, there has been a new drive to encourage alternative energy sources, and in 2011 renewable energy accounted for more than 20 percent of global power generated. Still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world specially in less developed countries. Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy sources in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment. All these has come one step closer due to recent progress in electrification, particularly in LDCs, and improvements in industrial energy efficiency. However, national priorities and policy ambitions still need to be strengthened to put the world on track to meet the energy targets for 2030.

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