Challenges & opportunities

Solutions and policies for modern energy provision

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), the global population without access to electricity fell from about 1.2 billion in 2010 to around 840 million in 2017. The share of renewables in final energy consumption increased from 16.6% in 2010 to 17.5% in 2016. But despite this, progress has been mostly uneven, and the deployment of renewables is lagging in transport, industry, heating and cooling. Energy efficiency improvements must also increase to a rate of 2.7% per year to meet the global target.

Accelerated action is needed to ensure reliable access to affordable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and achieve SDG 7 by 2030. Especially as the world population grows and the degree of urbanisation increases, we urgently need new solutions and policies for modern energy provision. The transition to district energy systems, for example, could reduce primary energy consumption by up to 50% by 2050, according to a report launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As stated in the UNEP report, such a transition could also contribute up to 60% of the energy sector’s emission reductions required by 2050.

Accelerated action to achieve SDG 7 and maximise synergies between the energy sector and other sectors will help advance numerous other SDGs as well. The COVID-19 crisis, for example, has shown that reliable access to energy is indispensable for hospitals and first-line medical services to treat critical patients, avoiding human catastrophe and speeding up the recovery process. Reliable access to modern energy services not just plays a critical role in supporting people’s health. It also catalyses economic development and helps enable a just and equitable transition to a climate-safe future.

Conference programme

Energy sessions

Deep dive sessions

Ensuring reliable access to modern energy solutions

Thematic coordinator


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