The Sustainable Energy for All Forum kicked off today, with global leaders from government, business and civil society uniting to push for greater urgency and action in achieving universal access to clean, affordable energy - and the historic economic opportunity closing this energy access gap offers.
This renewed call came after the launch of the latest Global Tracking Framework during the opening day of the Forum. Data showing the latest progress to three global energy goals – access to electricity, renewable energy and efficiency – shows we are not moving fast enough to reach our 2030 targets.
The report, led by the World Bank Group and the International Energy Agency as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Knowledge Hub, showed that the current rate of increase in people getting access to electricity started to slow down during its reporting period, and if this trend is not reversed, projections are that the world will only reach 92% electrification by 2030, still short of the universal access target, part of Sustainable Development Goal 7.
To allow progress to move at the speed and scale we need, the Global Tracking Framework estimates that renewable energy investment would need to increase by a factor of 2-3, energy efficiency by a factor of 3-6 and a five-fold investment increase is needed to reach universal access by 2030.
Opening the event, Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), said: “The energy transition underway offers us the greatest economic opportunity of our lifetime, but this evidence brings home the need for a much greater sense of urgency. While we can point to successes - with countries, cities, communities and companies changing course all around the world - the collective rate of progress is not yet fast enough. The missing ingredient in many parts of the world is political leadership. The good news is that this new helps direct us to data where we need to act to have the greatest impact. If we do, we can turn the steady progress we’re seeing today to the transformative progress we need tomorrow.”
As well as political leadership, businesses remain a critical sector in accelerating progress and action towards sustainable energy. Enel, the multinational energy company, revealed plans around a new SEforALL Electrification Accelerator – an initiative which will actively work towards driving electrification efforts that support global access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
Speaking at the event, Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager at Enel, said: “I am very proud to announce today's signing of our partnership agreement with Sustainable Energy for All through which we will work to support the UN Secretary General and SEforALL in enhancing efforts to enable further electrification and ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services. This partnership will lay the ground for the creation of a SEforALL Electrification Accelerator in which Enel will contribute its expertise and drive the development of mini-grids, e-mobility and the digitization of the networks.
“We have made significant progress since committing to contribute to four of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015, carrying out projects that have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Some of these projects have seen the creation of off-grid systems using hybrid solutions, the setting up of IT hubs in remote and poor areas to promote access to education and recycling initiatives that offer consumers electricity bill discounts, not to mention the work we have carried out to fight fuel poverty. We are strongly committed to continuing on this path and enabling the inclusion of these people, in order to facilitate access to electricity - a fundamental right.”
The Microgrid Investment Accelerator (MIA), a new initiative from a consortium of partners to support unlocking private capital for energy access, was also launched during the Forum opening day. This first-of-its-kind financing facility seeks to mobilize ~$50 million via public-private partnerships between 2018 and 2020 to expand energy access to communities that currently lack reliable access to modern energy services in India, Indonesia and East Africa.
A new district energy strategy to tackle air pollution and improve air quality from the Government of Chile, following close collaboration with UN Environment's public-private partnership, "District Energy in Cities Initiative”, was also launched with the support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Government of Denmark and the Danfoss Foundation.
Members of the EP100 campaign - that works with the world’s most influential businesses on increasing energy productivity - also announced that the South African retail store chain, Woolworths, has joined the campaign and committed to double their energy productivity by 2020.