Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
The availability of affordable, reliable and sustainable energy stands central to securing a viable future for humanity. However, some 13% of people still do not have access to electricity and three billion people rely on unsustainable sources of energy for cooking and heating.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest electricity-access deficit with more than one in two people lacking access.
Addressing sustainability and access in tandem requires systemic and socially grounded evidence and translation into policy. The Energy Systems Research Group at UCT addresses the systemic angle. It combines modelling of energy and economic systems with policy analysis and field-based research to generate and enhance knowledge of energy systems at national and regional scales. One of its projects involves developing a national energy systems model for the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the capacity to use it.
UCT’s African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) has ongoing and cross-cutting research and capacity-building projects that address not only climate action (Goal 13) but also access to energy. The ACDI Energy 4 Wellbeing team is working to provide detailed qualitative and quantitative data on the impact of off-grid energy provision on the wellbeing of the poorest South African households.
Another ACDI project, ‘Transforming energy access - learning partnership’, aims to build the necessary human capital to achieve Goal 7 by providing financial and technical support to develop new postgraduate curricula for the energy-access sector at eight universities across Africa.
Shifting energy development pathways away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy sources is essential for achieving Goal 7. Professor Harald Winkler of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, a world leader in this field, draws on a long record of publications and recently reflected on the role of climate finance to transform energy infrastructure as part of a just transition in South Africa.