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Energy in Sustainable Development Goals

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 2169 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Sustainable Development can be defined as the development to meet the needs of present without compromising the needs of the future generations (IISD, 2018). In other words we can say the future generations should not face the crises of the resources which we are using today. Energy access is increasingly seen as a vital catalyst to wider social and economic development, enabling education, health and sustainable agriculture, and creating jobs. Energy for productive uses is particularly important to enable local business innovation and create a more vibrant economy for communities and countries, while providing societal benefits as well(Nakicenovic, Rogner and Srivastava, 2018).The role of energy in sustainable development is very important as without energy no development can take place irrespective of the energy type. Hence, we can say energy is the base (heart) of each and every transformation. There are limited non- renewable energy resources but there are many millions who rely on this in order to meet their various needs. Access to clean and healthy energy sources are still a question to many of them. Around 2.4 billion people face problem to access safe and clean cooking fuel while 1.6 billion have no access to electricity (Un.org, 2018). This essay discusses about the role of energy in achieving sustainable development goals (SDG 7), the issues arising in achieving it and their relevant possible solutions.




The goal number 7 in SDGs is ‘Affordable and Clean Energy to all.’ Its aim is to provide universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, more use of renewable energy, globally improve energy efficiency rate, international co-operation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology and also promote investment in this field(Un.org, 2018). Apart from this, it also aims to supply modern and sustainable energy services in all developing countries and support them in their development. All the above aims are scheduled/targeted to be achieved by 2030.

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Energy is very important in removing poverty, raising living standards of the people and human welfare. In today’s time, there are many sources of energy generation but most of them are non-sustainable. There are many places in the world where there is still no reliable and secure electricity supply due to which there is less socio-economic development in that particular area(Vera and Langlois, 2018).There are also certain regions where the energy is available but its consumption is done in non-efficient way.  So not only the energy use but also its efficiency has to be considered. The electrical energy plays a significant and crucial role in our lives. The sustainable energy for all initiative is intended to attract global attention and public and private commitments to meeting three objectives by 2030.They are to ensure universal access to modern energy service, double the improvement rate of energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in global energy mix. These areas include seven sectors. They are

1) Electricity distributions.

2) Grid infrastructure and supply efficiency

3) Large scale renewable power

4) Modern cooking appliances

5) Buildings and appliances.

6) Industrial and agricultural processes

 7) Transportation(GRIGGS, 2018).

This includes four enabling areas which are

1) Energy planning and policies

2) Technology innovation and business models

3) Finance and risk management

4) Capacity building and knowledge sharing (GRIGGS, 2018).




Our world has been undergoing through changes from many centuries. These changes are severe as well as rapid. These includes population explosion, urbanisation, technological innovations, shifts in political empowers and also the economics and climate change (Nakicenovic, Rogner and Srivastava, 2018). Due to these changes the role of energy has come upfront. Due to this changes the concerns about security of water, shortage of food and also the change in natural climate has increased.


Right now the main energy source involved to achieve the goal is electrical energy or it can be said electricity is the backbone of sustainable development .But there are different ways in which electricity can be generated. This can be done either through renewable or non-renewable sources. As there is limited source of non-renewable energy it should not be wasted and also the use of non-renewable sources leads to harm the environment. As a result more emphasis is laid on renewable source of energy. This includes water (hydro), sunlight, wind, tide, nuclear and geothermal energy. All this sources have their limitation and in order to overcome this, different new technologies are been innovated by continuous research. Apart from this, the generation of the electricity depend on various other factors such as the geographical location, cost and funding, etc. It requires adequate storage facilities in order to not get wasted and also the efficient system for its distribution.


According to a survey, around 60% of total global final energy is used by the richest 20% people and only about 5% goes to the poor ones. Due to poverty, people are not able to afford the energy and they still use conventional fossil fuels such as wood, kerosene, etc. for their daily consumption. This leads to increase in some percentage of pollution and also the nature is being harmed. Alongside, they suffer from the effects of indoor pollution which accounts for approximately 4 million deaths per year. Energy efficiency is also a challenge to achieve sustainable development goal. It means cutting out waste and getting more done with same amount of energy. This step has been made more critical by the fact that around three billion more consumers will be entering the middle class by 2030(Nakicenovic, Rogner and Srivastava, 2018).


Other major factors that play a critical are the geographical location of the country, financial capability of the country, population, poverty, Literacy rate, etc. When considering location there are some counties which are rich in resources and so firms over there sell these resources to other wealthy/rich countries in order to make huge profits but they are not bothered about their own country. Poverty can also be considered as major factor. Because of poverty people are not able to get good education. Instead of sending children to schools, they are sent to work to earn money which is illegal and hence the illiteracy rate increases.  Lastly the main enemy in achieving the Sustainable development goals is ‘TIME’ and currently we are running out of time (Nakicenovic, Rogner and Srivastava, 2018). So it is very important to manage and complete the required task/goal on time otherwise it would be very late and may be not possible if the opportunity is once lost.



There are numerous problems in achieving the SD goals but also there certain solutions in order to meet the goal. The rapid de carbonisation of energy system for protection of the climate is essential and requires low carbon energy from bioenergy, renewable energy, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage coupled fossil fuels from mainly natural gas. Fossil resources and renewable potentials are plenty and widely available. But all of these resources are unequally distributed over different geographical locations. The share of renewable energy could increase to 75% by 2050 and in some areas it could also exceed 90% which would be very beneficial(BARETTO, MAKIHIRA and RIAHI, 2003).As a result of this, there can be reduction in level of pollution mainly greenhouse gases. This can also help countries to stabilize the fuel prices. Due to this they can also improve the balance of payments.

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The use of hydrogen fuel cells in generating electricity can be very advantageous. A hydrogen-based energy system is regarded as a viable and advantageous option for delivering high-quality energy services in a wide range of applications in an efficient, clean and safe manner while meeting sustainability goals. Hydrogen also provides an ideal complement to electricity. Both are premium quality energy carriers, do not contain carbon and generate little or no polluting emissions at the point of use. Electricity, however, is at disadvantage when storage is required while hydrogen could be well suited for those applications(BARETTO, MAKIHIRA and RIAHI, 2003). So the use of hydrogen must be considered as one of the solutions for meeting the energy requirement.

Seeing other many broad range of resources, policy options and technologies which supports the transformation, GLOBAL ENERGY ASSESMENT founded forty one integrated pathways which try to meet all the goals i.e. stabilizing global climate change and increasing energy security. Also at the moment it increases global prosperity.

In order to progress towards sustainable energy future it requires

 1) Enabling more use of smart grids.

2) Universal access to modern forms of energy and cleaner cooking through micro financing and subsidies.

3) De carbonization of more shares of renewable energy.

4) Improvements in energy efficiency through end use by focusing on new achievements of developments

5) Current instant action and also the avoidance of lock-in to energy supply and demand patterns inefficient of sustainability goals(Nakicenovic, Rogner and Srivastava, 2018).

Apart from this people should be made aware of the problems which the world is facing right now by running campaigns and through news and media and what it would be facing in the future so that they can also take initiative in achieving the sustainable development goal. Lastly, people should take care individually of the resources they are using and must use very carefully. Also government should take action against the ones who tries to destroy or use the resources in inadequate ways.


From all the above discussion it is clear that the role of energy is vital in order to attain sustainable development goals. Hence more emphasis should be laid on energy, its generation through renewable energy sources, it’s overall and equal distribution to everyone and it’s efficient use by increasing efficiency through new innovative technologies. The essay demonstrates the role of energy in achieving SDGs, the problems it is facing to reach the goal and at last there are some solutions stated which are essential in order to succeed in achieving Sustainable development goals.


  1. IISD. (2018). Sustainable Development Goals | IISD. [online] Available at: https://www.iisd.org/topic/sustainable-development-goals [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
  2. Un.org. (2018). #Envision2030 Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy | United Nations Enable. [online] Available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal7.html [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
  3. Vera, I. and Langlois, L. (2018). Energy indicators for sustainable development. [online] S100.copyright.com. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544206002337 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].
  4. Yaleglobal.yale.edu. (2018). The Three Challenges Facing the Electricity Sector | YaleGlobal Online. [online] Available at: https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/three-challenges-facing-electricity-sector [Accessed 24 Oct. 2018].
  5. BARETTO, L., MAKIHIRA, A. and RIAHI, K. (2003). The hydrogen economy in the 21st century: a sustainable development scenario. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 28(3), pp.267-284.
  6. GRIGGS, D. (2018). Sustainable development goals and the role of energy.
  7. Nakicenovic, N., Rogner, M. and Srivastava, L. (2018). TOWARD ENERGY AS A SUSTAINBLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL. [online] Sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/getWSDoc.php?id=1013 [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].


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