Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.

Transitioning the global economy towards clean and sustainable sources of energy is one of our greatest challenges in the coming decades. Sustainable energy is an opportunity – it transforms lives, economies and the planet.

More information on energy access and sources can be found at our entries on Energy Production & Changing Sources, Renewables, and Fossil Fuels.

Target 7.1

By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

Modern energy services encompass both reliable provision to electricity, as well as access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking and heating. Electricity provides access to essential services such as light, technological and communication devices. Access to clean fuels for cooking is a key health indicator in reducing the burden of indoor air pollution (estimated to have resulted in 2.6 million premature deaths in 2016).

Target 7.2

By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Renewable energy is one of the two forms of low-carbon energy (the other being nuclear). Increasing the share of renewable and low-carbon energy is not only crucial in tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also in reducing the health burden from outdoor air pollution.

Energy is inclusive of electricity, but extends to other sources including those for non-electric heating and transport. In the charts below we show the percentage of final energy consumption supplied by renewables by country, and also the share of electricity production by fuel source. This data can be viewed by country, and allows us to see the relative contribution of renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuel sources.

Target 7.3

By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

Reducing or limiting global energy demand whilst continuing global and economic development are two goals which can conflict with one another. A useful measure we can use to track progress on both is 'energy intensity' which measures the quantity of energy needed to produce one unit of gross domestic product (GDP).

If we are to increase our energy efficiency and continue to promote economic development, we must reduce the amount of energy needed per unit of GDP. This metric is shown in the chart below by country over time. A doubling in energy efficiency or intensity would require a 50% reduction in the quantity of energy used per dollar.