Achieving modern energy for all by 2030 seems unlikely

Energy Access

Energy access in the world

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all by 2030,” including universal access to electricity and clean cooking, a greater share of renewables in the energy mix, and a doubling of the rate of improvement of energy efficiency. Achieving full access by 2030 will require connecting almost 100 million people every year, but the world is not on track to reach this goal.

The IEA is at the forefront of international efforts to assess and understand the persistent energy access deficit and chart a pathway to energy for all by 2030.

760 million people still lack access to energy today

The number of people without access to electricity worldwide has decreased by more than 45% since 2010, primarily driven by progress in developing Asia, but 760 million people still lack access today. The situation is most pressing in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 80% of people without access to electricity live. While there have been some recent improvements in access in sub-Saharan Africa, these have not kept pace with population growth, with the result that there has been a 2.5% increase in the number of people without access since 2010.

In the STEPS, current policies reduce the global number of people without access to electricity by around 125 million in 2030, although population growth means there are still around 650 million people without access in 2030. In the APS, the number of people without access to electricity falls to 270 million by 2030, and the number of people without access in countries in sub-Saharan Africa is cut by two-thirds. In the NZE Scenario, universal access to electricity is achieved by 2030.

Number of people without access to clean cooking by scenario, 2021-2030


Governments worldwide have mobilised fiscal support aimed at stabilising and rebuilding their economies in response to the Covid-19 crisis

Governments worldwide have earmarked over USD 710 billion in sustainable recovery measures as of end-March 2022, according to the latest IEA estimates. This is the largest ever clean energy recovery effort, 40% higher than what was spent after the global financial crisis.

The IEA Sustainable Recovery Tracker measures global recovery plans by monitoring energy-related policies and government spending on clean energy measures by country and by sector in the wake of the pandemic. Also, by evaluating the actual impact on total public and private recovery spending on clean energy measures. The Tracker relies on new, extensive policy analysis conducted by the IEA, including new modelling to estimate how much government spending mobilises private sector participation by region and measure type.

Global sustainable recovery spending by governments in response to Covid-19 compared to green spending levels enacted in post-global financial crisis stimulus plans


The number of people without electricity access is rising for the first time since the IEA started tracking it

Key analysis
Our work on energy access

Smart Grids (ISGAN TCP)

The ISGAN TCP is a strategic platform to support high-level government attention and action for the accelerated development and deployment of smarter, cleaner electricity grids around the world. Operating as both an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, and as a TCP, the ISGAN TCP provides an important channel for communication of experience, trends, lessons learned, and visions in support of clean energy objectives as well as new flexible and resilient solutions for smart grids.

User-Centred Energy Systems (Users TCP)

The Users TCP’s mission is to provide evidence from socio-technical research on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies to inform policy making for clean, efficient and secure energy transitions. Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation are embedding energy technologies in the heart of our communities. Communities’ response to these changes and use of energy technologies will determine the success of our energy systems. Poorly designed energy policies, and technologies that do not satisfy users’ needs, lead to ‘performance gaps’ that are both energy and economically inefficient. User-centred energy systems are therefore critical for delivering socially and politically acceptable energy transitions.