Last week, the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the United Nations Statistics Division, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization released the joint report Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2018. The report finds that the world is not on track to meet the targets set by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7—“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” which includes ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services and increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The report indicates that while SDG 7 targets may not be met by 2030, significant progress is being made. Moreover, trends at the national and regional levels—especially in Africa—offer encouraging signals. The report finds that, for the first time in history, Africa’s electrification deficit is falling in absolute terms, i.e., there are fewer people without electricity. This result is largely due to the high performance of East African countries. For instance, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania expanded access to electricity by at least 3 percent of their population annually between 2010 and 2016.
(Frankfurt School - UNEP Collaborating Centre/ 5 April 2018)
Banking on sunshine: World added fare more solar than fossil fuel power generating capacity in 2017
The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, published on April 5th by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power, is continuing to drive deployment. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables exceeded $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources. Overall, China was by far the world’s largest investing country in renewables, at a record $126.6 billion, up 31 per cent on 2016.
(Vivian Nereim and Stephen Cunningham/bloomberg, March 29, 2018)
Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $200 billion solar power development that’s exponentially larger than any other project.
(The economist, 15 March 2018)
Collaboration and localisation will help,
On the eve of the first world war a young Winston Churchill switched the Royal Navy from coal to oil. As Daniel Yergin put it in his book “The Prize”, the reliance on doubtful supplies of oil from Persia rather than Welsh coal turned energy security into a question of national strategy. Churchill responded that “safety and certainty in oil lie in variety, and variety alone.”