Sustainable Development Goal 7

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

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).

Renewable energy

The growth of modern renewables, which excludes the traditional use of biomass, has outpaced the increase of energy consumption in recent years. This has resulted in an increase in the share of modern renewables in total final energy consumption, reaching over 10% in 2017. Under the New Policies Scenario, this share is expected to grow to 15% by 2030, a number that is well below the 22% in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario.

The share of modern renewables in total final energy consumption has been growing since the 2000s and reached over 10% in 2017. Renewables-based electricity generation (now one-quarter of total generation) accounted for just over 55% of the increase in renewables energy use since 2000, most of which was driven by hydro, wind and bioenergy. Meanwhile solar contributed one-quarter of the growth in electricity generation from renewables in the last three years. Finally, modern bioenergy accounts for 50% of total final energy consumption from renewables due to use in heat and transport.

These figures all exclude the traditional use of biomass – fuelwood, charcoal and organic waste for cooking. The use of solid biomass, which is concentrated in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, is typically associated with inefficient and poorly ventilated cookstoves in developing countries, and is a major contributor to household air pollution and related premature deaths. Although the traditional use of biomass has been growing in absolute terms, its growth has been slower than that of modern renewables and now accounts for 7% of total final consumption, down from 9% in 2000.

Modern renewable share in total final energy consumption, 2016


Outlook for modern renewables

In the New Policies Scenario, the share of modern renewables reaches 15% of total final energy consumption in 2030. Electricity generation from renewables overtakes coal in 2026 and supplies around 36% of electricity by 2030.

In contrast, under the Sustainable Development Scenario, modern renewables should reach 22% of final energy consumption in 2030. Meanwhile electric generation from renewables should overtake coal in 2022, to supply around 49% of electricity in 2030. In some countries and regions the rate of progress is far from the substantial increase required to meet SDG 7.2.

Modern renewable share in total final energy consumption, 2000-2030

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