Are we going fast enough to reach global sustainable energy goals?

In June 2015, we told you that the world is on the right track to make sustainable energy a reality for everyone by 2030, but it can only happen if countries dramatically accelerate their efforts, get robust financial support and adopt the latest technology.

A lot has happened since then.

For starters, the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change was forged in December 2015 and came into effect a few months ago. And for the first time, renewable sources of energy overtook coal in terms of cumulative installed power capacity in the world. In fact, about half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world in 2015, according to data from IRENA.

Zambia had a record solar auction, with many other countries following suit and efforts are under way, both at national and global levels, to ensure universal energy access by 2030. There is a steady stream of news on the latest innovations on the renewable energy front, and how costs have plummeted for solar energy in recent years.

But are we moving fast enough to ensure we get to the finish line as planned? The latest edition of our report, Sustainable Energy for All: Global Tracking Framework 2017 (GTF), aims to show you just that.

GTF tracks the world’s progress toward Sustainable Energy for All’s (SEforAll) three goals of universal energy access, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix – all to be met by 2030. While the first edition, released in 2013, measured progress between 1990 and 2010, the one released in 2015 focused on 2010 to 2012 - this infographic summarizes the report’s key findings at that time.

(For a more thorough refresher, you could also read the report here and the story here.)

GTF 2017 tracks progress in the 2013-2014 period, features updates on those topics and takes a closer look at underlying regional trends and country stories. Wherever possible, consultation processes conducted in each region, allowed national level policy makers to preview the release of the data and contribute to the emerging storyline.

While the report’s findings are definitely a wake-up call to the world, it must be noted that there are some standout performers on all fronts – electricity access, renewable energy uptake and energy efficiency – that offer hope and inspiration to others that achieving sustainable energy objectives is, in fact, possible with the right policies, robust investments (both public and private) and technological innovation.

GTF complements the recently launched Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE), the first global policy scorecard of its kind that grades 111 countries in three areas: energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. It is aimed at helping governments assess if they have a policy and regulatory framework in place to drive progress on sustainable energy, pinpoints where more can be done to attract private investments and enables countries to measure their performance against others and track progress over time.

Find out more when we launch GTF 2017 on Apr. 3 at the SEforAll Forum in New York.


By Vivien Foster is the Global Lead for Energy Economics, Markets & Institutions for the World Bank Group’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice.

The report, funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), was produced jointly with the International Energy Agency (IEA), and in partnership with 20 agencies in the energy space including five United Nations Regional Economic Commissions – ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA, UNECA, UNECE.