‘World Still Far from Meeting SDG Target’

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Gilbert Ekugbe
Despite notable progress made on energy access in recent years, the World Bank has stated that the world was falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.

According to a report made available to THISDAY, the multilateral institution noted that India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Myanmar were among countries that made the most progress since 2010.
It, however, stressed that without more sustained actions, 650 million people would still be left without access to electricity in 2030, with nine out of 10 of these people living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Bank noted that although great efforts had been made to deploy renewable energy technology for electricity generation and to improve energy efficiency across the world, access to clean cooking solutions and the use of renewable energy in heat generation and transport were still lagging far behind the goals.
It recommended that maintaining and extending the pace of progress in all regions and sectors would require stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, increased private financing and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to spur faster deployment of new technologies.

The report also added that following a decade of steady progress, the global electrification rate reached 89 per cent and 153 million people gained access to electricity each year.
“However, the biggest challenge remains in the most remote areas globally and in sub-Saharan Africa where 573 million people still live in the dark.
“To connect the poorest and hardest to reach households, off-grid solutions, including solar lighting, solar home systems, and increasingly mini grids, will be crucial.
“Globally, at least 34 million people in 2017 gained access to basic electricity services through off-grid technologies. The report also reinforces the importance of reliability and affordability for sustainable energy access,” the Washington-based institution added.

On renewable energy, the World Bank noted that it accounted for 17.5 per cent of global total energy consumption in 2016, compared with 16.6 per cent in 2010, saying that renewables have been increasing rapidly in electricity generation but have made less headway into energy consumption for heat and transport.
It added: “A substantial further increase of renewable energy is needed for energy systems to become affordable, reliable and sustainable, focusing on modern uses. “As renewables become mainstream, policies need to cover the integration of renewables into the broader energy system and take into account the socio-economic impacts affecting the sustainability and pace of the transition.”

It said courtesy of concerted policy efforts in large economies, energy efficiency improvements have been more sustained in recent years, but however stated that the global rate of primary energy intensity improvement still lags behind, and estimates suggest there has been a significant slowdown in 2017 and 2018.
“Strengthening mandatory energy efficiency policies, providing targeted fiscal or financial incentives, leveraging market-based mechanisms, and providing high-quality information about energy efficiency will be central to meet the goal,” the report added.