May 08th 2024

SDG: Goal 7 Affordable and clean energy

SDG: Goal 7 Affordable and clean energy is a fundamental prerequisite for economic and social development. Clean energy sources are crucial for environmental and climate protection. Nevertheless, the majority of energy produced worldwide still comes from fossil fuels. This pollutes the climate, soil and water, endangers health, biodiversity and therefore the future of our planet. A global transformation towards reliable renewable energies is therefore urgently needed.

What are the goals?

It is crucial that all people have access to affordable, reliable and modern energy. This is a fundamental human right and a key to promoting development and prosperity worldwide. To achieve this goal, the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix must be significantly increased. This means that we need to invest more in clean and sustainable energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the negative impact on our environment.

Furthermore, it is crucial to double the global rate of increase in energy efficiency. By using energy more efficiently, we can reduce consumption while producing the same amount of services and products. This is not only good for the environment, but also for the economy and consumers, as it reduces costs and saves resources.

Increased international cooperation is also of great importance to facilitate access to research and technology in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and clean fossil fuel technologies. By sharing knowledge and resources, we can accelerate the development and implementation of clean energy solutions and combat global warming.

In addition to promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, it is also important to expand and modernize infrastructure in developing countries to provide modern and sustainable energy services for all. This includes the expansion of power grids, access to clean drinking water and sanitation, as well as the promotion of educational programs and economic development to improve people’s living conditions. Through these measures, we can ensure that no one is left out of the benefits of a reliable and sustainable energy supply.

Energy sources

Wind and solar energy are the leading renewable energy sources. Biomass and hydropower also make a significant contribution to a sustainable energy supply.

Thanks to the energy transition in Germany, around 46.2 percent of electricity now comes from renewable energy sources. The expansion of these energy sources is a central pillar of the energy transition, which aims to make our energy supply climate-neutral and at the same time free us from our dependence on fossil fuels. A target of 65% renewable energy by 2030 is being pursued and the German government will take concrete measures to accelerate the energy transition.

This requires better coordination between the expansion of renewable energies and the expansion of grid capacities. The Federal Government is committed to ensuring that the grids are optimized and expanded to meet demand. At the same time, it is promoting the development of storage solutions for renewable energies in order to compensate for fluctuations in energy generation.

No more nuclear power and accelerated coal phase-out
Germany has not only decided to phase out nuclear power, but will also stop generating electricity from coal. The accelerated nuclear phase-out was passed into law in 2011, and on April 15, 2023, the last nuclear power plants were finally shut down, ending the use of nuclear power in Germany. Nuclear energy is not an attractive alternative to the consistent path of the energy transition towards renewable energies.

The decision has also been made to phase out coal-fired power generation. With the Structural Strengthening Act, the last coal-fired power plant in Germany will be shut down by 2038 at the latest – eight years earlier than originally planned. This will make the electricity supply in Germany greenhouse gas-neutral.

The former lignite regions and locations of hard coal-fired power plants are to be developed into energy and technology regions of the future in order to overcome the economic and social consequences of the coal phase-out and create new prospects.

Success would be energy efficiency

The German government is actively promoting more efficient use of energy. Its goal is to halve energy consumption by 2050 compared to 2008. To this end, it has introduced the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which focuses on information and advice.

In order to achieve this goal, the federal government has tightened its own procurement regulations for energy-efficient services. Accordingly, the federal government may only purchase goods and products with the highest available efficiency class in accordance with the EU regulation on energy consumption labeling. If these are not available, the highest achievable performance level in terms of energy efficiency must be selected. This regulation applies to both national and Europe-wide tenders.

In order to identify potential savings and use energy more efficiently, the German government specifically promotes investment in energy efficiency programs. Particularly in the area of buildings, which account for a high proportion of final energy consumption in Germany, there is considerable potential for savings, especially in heating. There is also great potential in the area of mobility. The German government supports modern transportation concepts and alternative drive systems such as e-mobility in order to reduce pollution. It also promotes energy-efficient construction and renovation in order to further reduce energy consumption.

International cooperation for better and more sustainable energy

A sustainable energy supply is not only a cornerstone of economic development, but also contributes to poverty reduction by reducing dependence on expensive fossil fuels, especially oil, while at the same time protecting the environment – both locally and globally.

Germany actively supports the spread of sustainable and decentralized energy generation technologies and is committed to efficient energy production and use. This contributes both to climate protection and to easing global competition for increasingly scarce energy resources.

Almost 800 million people worldwide currently live without access to a modern energy supply. Needs-based energy access for all requires energy in the right quantity, quality, time, place and at an affordable price. Global energy demand will continue to rise dramatically until 2030, especially in Africa. The sustainable supply of clean energy to these people is a key to combating global poverty and an important goal of German development policy.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development supports partner countries in establishing modern and climate-neutral energy systems, improves the political and legal framework for the use of renewable energies and increases energy efficiency.

Germany is also involved abroad with support programmes for modern and environmentally friendly energy, such as the “Energizing Development” programme, which facilitates access to climate-friendly energy supplies.

Africa needs sustainable energy concepts for the long term, which is why the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is working with African partner countries to promote feasibility studies for the development of sustainable energy concepts. This offers German companies new investment opportunities and business models locally.

The “Energy Export Initiative” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate supports German providers of environmentally friendly energy solutions in opening up foreign markets. Contributing to climate protection is an important goal of these global exports of German technologies and services in the field of climate-friendly energy technologies.

The question is, where do we stand right now?

Although the energy supply situation has improved in many regions, current progress is not sufficient to achieve SDG 7. It is predicted that around 660 million people will still have no access to electricity by 2030. In addition, almost two billion people will continue to rely on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking.

Most households without electricity are in the poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this, international support for the expansion of renewable energy in developing countries has decreased significantly in recent years. In 2021, funding of USD 10.8 billion was provided, a decrease of 11% compared to 2020 and even 35% compared to the average between 2010 and 2019.

Global economic uncertainty, exacerbated by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, has led to significant fluctuations in energy prices, particularly for natural gas, the price of which has risen sharply. While some countries are investing more in renewable energies as a result, others are increasingly returning to the use of coal. This poses a serious threat to the transition to a climate-neutral social and economic order.

The overview of the 17 goals can be read here

Overview of the 17 goals

Links

You can find information from the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) here:

https://sdgs.un.org/goals

Information from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development can be found here:

https://www.bmz.de/de/agenda-2030/sdg-1

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