Energy from renewable resources – wind, water, solar, biomass and geothermal – is inexhaustible and clean. Yet, renewable energy constitutes only a small percentage of global energy use.
By doubling renewable energy’s share in the energy mix by 2030 – as called for under Sustainable Development Goal 7 - we can take a critical step towards a sustainable energy future while also meeting bold ambitions under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The opportunities are enormous. Technology costs are rapidly falling, making renewables less costly than fossil fuels in many parts of the world. Clean energy also creates more jobs, fosters economic growth and improves energy security, especially in countries lacking domestic fossil fuel resources.
Developing countries with significant electricity gaps have an especially big opportunity to utilize centralized and decentralized renewable energy solutions. Under-served ‘last-mile’ populations removed from electric grids can benefit most from off-grid solar and other decentralized offerings, which can be installed more quickly and at less cost than traditional electric grid approaches.
Achieving our objectives under SDG7 requires he share of renewables to rise from 18.3 percent of Total Final Energy Consumption in 2014, to 36 percent by 2030. The latest 2017 Global Tracking Framework data shows that there have been rapid increases in renewable energy consumption; yet the overall share of renewable energy has been growing more slowly due to continued rapid growth in overall energy consumption globally, especially in emerging markets.
The biggest renewable gains in recent years have been in the power sector. Increasing renewables use in the heating and transport sectors must be key immediate priorities, as well.