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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number seven specifies that we need to:

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

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7 billion, and as the global population continues to rise so will the demand for cheap energy. A global economy reliant on fossil fuels and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is having a visible impact on every continent.

However, there has been a new drive to encourage alternative energy sources, and in 2011 renewable energy accounted for more than 20 percent of global power generated. Still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world.

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

By 2030, the world’s population will increase by a billion people, to 8 billion people inhabiting our planet, and another 1 billion to be added by the year 2050, for a total of over 9 billion people1 . Of this population growth, the bulk will be in the least developed nations. The population in these nations are projected to increase by 50% by the year 2030 from 832 million to 1.26 billion people2.

With this population growth, will come increasing energy demands on our planet’s finite energy resources. While energy use intensity has gone down in recent years, the total amount of energy used by the human population has risen significantly, as there are more people using energy-using goods and services3. Along with increasing energy consumption, energy challenges exist across household, community and national levels. For example, energy access, energy storage, clean cooking fuel availability, renewable and non-renewable energy supplies and access, and energy storage are just a few of the challenges facing our planet. Accordingly, UN Sustainable Goal #7 is to

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

New technologies are emerging to deal with these challenges, renewable energy sources are on the rise, energy efficiency is being utilized more and more, policy innovations are being designed and implemented, and smart energy infrastructures are being created and used to better manage the energy supplies and resources we have. With determination, flexibility, innovation, and a commitment to a better energy future, the Sustainable Development Goal #7 targets can be met.

1 UNCSD Secretariat, 2012
2 UNCSD Secretariat, 2012
3 IEA, 2008: 15


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  1. Focus on the Poor: World Vision Canada seeks to address some of the most significant challenges addressing the world’s poorest communities. Ideas need to be focuses on implementation in South America, Africa and South and East Asia.
  2. Market Based Approaches: Traditional approaches in the development sector focus on the very poor and are based on the assumption that they are unable to help themselves and therefore need charity, handouts and public funding. Market-based approaches on the other hand are based on the premise that being poor does not eliminate trade and market processes. Market-led approaches therefore look at people as consumers, producers, entrepreneurs and seek solutions that make markets more efficient, competitive and inclusive.
  3. Cost Effectiveness: With so many people to reach and an expectation for sustainability, cost effectiveness is key.
  4. Sustainable Change: Energy, light and power are needed every day and solutions need regular maintenance and investment. We’re excited about solutions that prioritize the sustainability needed to make lasting change.
  5. Consider Scale: Despite population growth slowing in recent years, the global population is projected to reach 8 billion in 2025 and about 11 billion by the year 2100[1]. Consequently, solutions that are able to reach scale will be the most impactful.
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