Tracking SDG 7: Energy Progress Report

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an initiative taken by the United Nations aims to work on problems related to environmental degradation, climate changes, etc. The SDG 7 deals with affordable and clean energy which ensure access to affordable, sustainable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030. In today’s modern era, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy resources support all the major factors lie in an economy like agriculture, infrastructure, business development, etc. failing in the same would lead to degradation or destruction of human and global economic development. The world is currently off the track to meet SDG 7, as reported by IRENA. Over 0.7 billion of the world population has no access to electricity and out of every 3 people, 1 person is still unable to cook cleanly. COVID-19 pandemic also put an additional hurdle on this path of achieving SDGs 7 by 2030.

Salient features of the report

The four most important goals under SDG 7 are access to electricity, access to clean cooking, renewable resources and environmental investments. Mother earth provides its children with various renewable resources in the form of solar, wind, hydropower, etc. Energy efficiency and reduction or limitation in the use of non-renewable resources would directly lead to mitigation in climatic changes and developing the favourable ecosystem. Some salient features are shown in the form of data analysis as:

  • Recovery from COVID-19 pandemic: To cure the global economic damage occurred due to COVID-19 pandemic, the states must be focused on efficiently use of modern renewable resources and make them available to the large section of society. This helps an economy to recover from this global pandemic by focusing on how the people access energy which can develop economy, health and livelihood and also fulfil the goals mentioned under SDGs 7.
  • About electricity access: The people who have no access to electricity has been shifted downward from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 789 million in 2018 which shows the humungous amount of improvement but still, ten per cent of the world population has been struggling to access electricity. In the Africa region, this goes upward from 48 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2018 of the world’s unelectrified persons. 
  • Challenges related to clean cooking: If the ongoing tendency continued, 30 per cent of the world population will not be able to access clean cooking methods by 2030. In 2010, 3 billion people had no access to clean cooking and in 2018 this number decreases only by 0.2 billion.  
  • About energy efficiency: Data analysts noted the slowest progress in energy efficiency among all the components of SDGs 7. The energy efficiency rises in the year 2015 by 3 per cent but later in the year 2016-17, it falls back to 1.7 per cent which shows the lowest rate of improvement since 2010.
  • About renewable energy consumption: Renewable energy plays a pivotal role in achieving SDGs 7 but from the past few years, there was no major improvement has been shown. In 2010, there was 16.3 per cent of total final energy consumption from renewable resources and it increases to 17.3 per cent in the year 2017.  
  • About clean energy: In the year 2010, there was US $ 10.1 billion international financial flows to developing nations in support of clean energy and by 2018, it rises to US $ 21.4 billion. 

The report w.r.t. India

  • Electricity access: In 2018, 95 per cent of the Indian population which means more than 1.2 billion Indians has access to electricity. The urban population has 100 per cent access to electricity but Rural India has only 93 per cent access to electricity. 
  • Access to clean cooking: In 2018, 81% of Urban India has access to clean cooking but in rural areas, the percentage falls to 28% by which the total shifted downwards to 49%. 
  • Renewable energy: In the year 2017, the share of Renewable Energy in Total Final Energy Consumption was 32.2 per cent. 
  • Energy Efficiency: In the year 2017, National Energy Intensity was 4.2 MJ/US$ PPP 2011 (Energy Intensity level of primary energy), where the global average was 5.0.
  • International financial flows: In the year 2017, in India, there was the US $ 800 million international financial flow in support of clean and renewable energy.

 India’s policy regarding SDGs 7

  • Sino-Indian Partnership: A collaboration took place between NDRC, China and TERI, India where the China National Petroleum Corporation and ONGC, India collab and invested in Sudan for natural oil and renewable energy.
  • Give up LPG subsidy: An initiative was taken by the Indian government in which those people who are wealthy enough to pay the market price of LPG can surrender their subsidy and this benefit directly shifted to the people having no access to clean cooking.
  • National Solar Mission: This initiative was taken by the government to grant access to electricity to rural India by establishing ultra-mega power project and ensures that the power cables from the grid have been reached to transformers in each village.

Scope of improvement

  • Because of Sino-Indian partnership, both Indian and Chinese infrastructure harnesses and sources of renewable energy boost in the economy. As both India and China are the biggest importer of crude oil from OPEC nations, this deal will definitely help both the nations.    
  • Establishment of Ministry for New and Renewable Energy helps India to perform better at world level with respect to SDGs 7. They are the policymaker and watchdog the activities related to the production of new and renewable energy resources within the nation. 
  • By ensuring public investment in electricity especially in off-grid and mini-grid sector; political campaign in making people aware about clean cooking and environmental health; by implementing policies in favour of ecosystem and direct investment made in renewable resources; will be well-suited in achieving SDGs 7.

Conclusion

After going through Tracking SDGs: Energy Progress Report, 2020 it came to my notice that India really performed well in the field of electricity, renewable energy and energy efficiency but still lacks with adequate methods of clean cooking. Also, India has the potential to perform well on SDGs 7 at world level but this is not the highest peak point of achievement. India can achieve more than that it has achieved till now and set a great example in front of the whole world. 

Author: Vividh Jain from Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

Editor: Silky Mittal, Junior Editor, Lexlife India.

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