United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


Related Goals

Targets and Indicators



By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services


Proportion of population with access to electricity


Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology



By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix


Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption



By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency


Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP



By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology


International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems



By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support


Investments in energy efficiency as a percentage of GDP and the amount of foreign direct investment in financial transfer for infrastructure and technology to sustainable development services

Progress and Info

The world is making good progress on increasing access to electricity and improving energy efficiency. However, millions of people throughout the world still lack such access, and progress on facilitating access to clean cooking fuels and technologies is too slow. The pandemic has highlighted the need for reliable and affordable electricity in health centres. In addition, a survey conducted in selected developing countries revealed that one quarter of the health facilities surveyed were not electrified, and another quarter had unscheduled outages, affecting their capacity to deliver essential health services. Such deficiencies weaken the health system’s response to the current health crisis.

The global electrification rate rose, from 83 per cent in 2010 to 90 per cent by 2018. Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia maintained strong progress, exceeding 98 per cent access to electricity by 2018. However, the world’s deficit was increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where some 548 million persons, or 53 per cent of the population, lacked access to electricity.

Access to clean cooking fuels and technologies increased to 63 per cent in 2018, from 60 per cent in 2015 and 56 per cent in 2010. Still, 2.8 billion persons lacked such access and relied primarily on inefficient and polluting cooking systems. Because of the stagnant rate and rapid population growth, in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without access to clean fuels for cooking increased.

The renewable energy share of total final energy consumption gradually increased, from 16.3 per cent in 2010 to 17.0 per cent in 2015 and 17.3 per cent in 2017. Much faster growth is required to meet long-term climate goals.

Global primary energy intensity (the energy used per unit of GDP) improved by 2.2 per cent annually, from 5.2 per cent in 2015 to 5.0 per cent in 2017, but was still short of the 2.7 per cent annual rate needed to reach target 7.3.

International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy reached $21.4 billion in 2017, 13 per cent higher than in 2016 and a twofold increase from flows committed in 2010. Hydropower projects received 46 per cent of 2017 flows, while solar projects received 19 per cent, wind 7 per cent and geothermal 6 per cent.

Source: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, Report of the Secretary-General, https://undocs.org/en/E/2020/57