5 things we learned from the newly updated “heat maps” developed by Sustainable Energy for All

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Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) just released newly updated ‘heat maps’ that help identify countries and regions around the world making the most progress — and facing the biggest challenges — on key sustainable energy issues.

The four sets of heat maps are focused on access to clean cooking, electricity access, energy efficiency and renewable energy — all key topics of Sustainable Development Goal 7, which calls for achieving affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Each of the heat maps identifies 20 “high-impact” countries facing the biggest challenges on specific sustainable energy indicators. In the case of electricity access and clean cooking, for example, the high-impact countries are all in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

We read the heat maps in detail and selected five facts that you might find interesting:

  1. CLEAN COOKING: In 2014, 3.04 billion people did not have access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking. Approximately 85% of those without access live in just 20 high impact countries (India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc.)
  2. ELECTRIFICATION: In 2000, Afghanistan’s electrification rate was close to 0%. By 2010, this had risen to 43% and by 2014 to about 90%. Progress has been primarily driven by the rollout of off-grid renewable energy solutions.
  3. RURAL/URBAN DIVIDE: In urban parts of Africa, the electricity access rate increased from 70.4% in 1991 to 76.0% in 2014. But about 110.6 million people still lacked electricity in 2014, as urban population growth had offset access gains.
  4. ENABLING POLICIES: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have put in place enabling policy and regulatory environments for energy access in the Sub-Saharan African region. Kenya aims to achieve universal access by 2020, and is focused on grid electrification. Attractive investment incentives and mini-grid standards have encouraged private sector engagement. Last mile connectivity (grid densification program) is funded through connection fee subsidies.
  5. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Estimates suggest that energy efficiency investment would need to increase by a factor of 3-6 from current levels of $250 billion a year to reach the 2030 objective.

“By combining and analyzing data in these heat maps, we can show global leaders where they can make the biggest and fastest inroads towards our goal of universal energy access for all by 2030,” said Jane Olga Ebinger, Director of Policy at SEforALL, “The maps also show where big gains are happening so that we can replicate the success of others and help leaders in government, business and civil society make smart choices.”

Ebinger will be posting weekly blogs on the heat maps in the coming weeks. SEforALL will also be posting guest blogs from its partners and doing extensive social media promotion via the hashtag #SDG7HeatMaps

Most of the data for the maps is from the 2017 Global Tracking Framework report, which has been assessing progress towards SEforALL objectives since 2013. The Framework uses available data from household surveys and international databases to track access to electricity, clean cooking sources, improvements in energy intensity and increases in the share of renewable energy compared to overall energy consumption.

The maps also draw on data from the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy — commonly known as RISE — which evaluate 111 countries on the quality of their policies and regulations for energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency.