Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia had the biggest electricity access deficits, with Ethiopia replacing India in the top three.
Globally, the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 759 million in 2019. Electrification through decentralized renewable-based solutions in particular gained momentum.
The number of people connected to mini grids has more than doubled between 2010 and 2019, growing from five to 11 million people. However, under current and planned policies and further affected by the COVID-19 crisis, an estimated 660 million people would still lack access in 2030, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, some 2.6 billion people remained without access to clean cooking in 2019, one third of the global population. Largely stagnant progress since 2010 leads to millions of deaths each year from breathing cooking smoke, and without rapid action to scale up clean cooking the world will fall short of its target by 30 per cent, come 2030.
The state of access in the Sub-Saharan African region is characterized by population growth outpacing gains in the number of people with access, so that 910 million in the region lack access to clean cooking.
The top 20 access-deficit countries account for 81 per cent of the global population without access to clean fuels and technologies. Of these, Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Uganda and Tanzania had less or equal to five per cent of their populations with access to clean cooking.
On a positive note, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar have made gains each year over the reported period.
The report examines various ways to bridge the gaps to reach SDG7, chief among them the goal of significantly scaling up renewables -- which have proven more resilient than other parts of the energy sector during the COVID-19 crisis.
While renewable energy has seen unprecedented growth over the last decade, its share of total final energy consumption remained steady as global energy consumption grew at a similar rate.
Renewables are most dynamic in the electricity sector, reaching around 25 per cent in 2018, while progress in the heat and transport sectors have been much slower.
More than one third of the increase in renewable energy generation in 2018 can be attributed to East Asia -- driven by large uptakes of solar and wind energy in China.
The largest country-level advances in renewable energy in 2018 were observed in Spain, owing to higher hydropower generation, followed by Indonesia where a rapid uptake of bio-energy for power generation played a substantial role.
To significantly increase the share of renewable energy in line with the SDG 7 target, current efforts need to accelerate in all end-use sectors to scale uptake of renewables while containing total energy demand.
Energy intensity improvements (a proxy for energy efficiency) are moving further away from the target set under SDG 7 for 2030. The rate of global primary energy intensity improvement in 2018 was 1.1 per cent compared to 2017, the lowest average annual rate of improvement since 2010.
The annual improvement until 2030 will now need to average three per cent if the world is to meet the goal.
Accelerating the pace of progress across all regions and indicators will require stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, and adequate policy and scale incentives to spur faster uptake of sustainable energy solutions.
Although clean energy investments continue to be sourced primarily from the private sector, the public sector remains a major source of financing and is central in leveraging private capital, particularly in developing countries and in a post-COVID context.
One of the newest indicators in the report, international public financial flows to developing countries, shows that international financial support continues to be concentrated in a few countries and failing to reach many of those most in need.
Flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy reached $14 billion in 2018, with a mere 20 per cent going to the least-developed countries, which are the furthest from achieving the various SDG7 targets.
An increased emphasis on "leaving no one behind" is required in the years ahead.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.