Energy and Meteorology Portal

Energy Access

Aiming to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), while at the same time meeting the goals of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement (UN, 2015b) to decarbonise the energy sector to slow down global warming, is a great challenge.

The SDG 7 target, ‘Ensure access to affordable,  reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’, is addressing the issue that about 1.1 billion people lack electricity, with 3 out of 4 of them living in sub-Saharan Africa, and a further 2.8 billion use traditional fuels for cooking (UN, 2015a, IEA 2022). Inadequate access to modern energy has profound consequences for food, health, education, social equality and income-generating activities (Figure 1).

Figure 1. SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy impacts on several other SDGs. Source: Eales, 2018

The important role of Weather and Climate Services (W&CSs) in helping meet the needs of people lacking energy access is being increasingly recognised. W&CSs can help to achieve this by (WMO SG-Ene, 2022):

  • Providing key information to countries and companies to fulfil their National Determined Contributions and Energy Compact targets. Energy compacts are voluntary commitments from governments, businesses and other stakeholders, to implement specific actions to drive progress on SDG7 and the Paris Agreement; accelerate the achievement of clean, affordable energy for all by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Identifying suitable locations for new project developments using renewable sources.
  • Providing information about generation potential – useful to calculate the potential return-investment for project developers.
  • Informing potential risks related to climate hazards and climate change so they can be considered during the design of the energy system expansion – information relevant for funding bodies, insurance and business companies.
  • Providing relevant information for the day-to-day management and maintenance of hybrid grids and mini-grids.
  • Supporting continuous supply of energy through informing Energy Adequacy Assessments.

Although W&CSs can play a key role in ensuring global access to energy, they still need to be embedded into the policies of international bodies, as currently there is no obvious mention of them. Once embedded it will be easier to include W&CSs in their funding strategies and regional project design. Similarly, W&CSs need to be embedded in the policies of each country to achieve energy resilience under a changing climate.