Electricity is the lifeblood energizing and empowering numerous aspects of our daily lives. Its pervasive presence enables essential functions that drive progress and prosperity from homes and schools to hospitals and businesses. However, over 1 billion people worldwide still lack access to electricity, and many more have limited access. The absence of electricity infrastructure impacts education, healthcare, economic growth, and social development. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) aims to provide sustainable and affordable energy for all by 2030 because accessible electricity is an indispensable catalyst for sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Examples of Companies Promoting Accessible Electricity through Initiatives
Several companies are making significant efforts towards promoting accessible electricity through CSR initiatives.
For example, Enel is an Italian multinational energy company focused on sustainable development. The company has several initiatives to help achieve SDG 7, ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
- In 2020, Enel launched the “Enel Green Power for Africa” program, which aims to provide solar power to 1 million African households by 2025. The program is already underway and has provided solar power to over 200,000 households in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia.
- In 2021, Enel launched the “Enel X Next” program to help businesses and communities reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. The program offers various services, including energy efficiency consulting, renewable energy solutions, and demand-side management.
- In 2022, Enel launched the “Enel Foundation” to support research and innovation in sustainable energy. The foundation has already funded many projects, including developing new solar technologies and creating new energy storage solutions.
Another example is Schneider Electric India Foundation has implemented several initiatives to achieve SDG 7.
- Microgrid Solutions: They develop and deploy microgrid solutions in Ramgarh & Bicchauli villages in Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with Dalmia Bharat Foundation for sugarcane farmers who face the issue of water shortage for irrigation and electricity access to their houses. This initiative has helped increase agricultural yield, reduce carbon emissions caused by Diesel based water pumps and provide clean, safe electricity to farmers’ houses.
- Access to Energy Programs: They are actively involved in initiatives that aim to provide access to electricity in underserved communities. Through programs like “Access to Energy,” the company partners with local stakeholders to deploy decentralized energy solutions, including solar power, in areas with limited or no access to the grid.
The Benefits of Affordable and Sustainable Energy for Society and the Environment
Sustainable and affordable energy has several social and environmental benefits:
- It promotes economic growth and poverty reduction by enabling access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.
- Sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar power do not emit greenhouse gases, contributing positively to climate change.
- Sustainable energy reduces the dependence on fossil fuels, which are finite resources.
The Challenges and Barriers to Achieving SDG7
Several challenges and barriers hinder the achievement of SDG7:
- More funding is needed for many developing countries.
- The lack of infrastructure, such as power grids and energy storage systems, is a significant barrier to providing access to electricity.
- The lack of political will and commitment hinders progress toward achieving SDG7.
The Future of Accessible and Sustainable Energy
The future of sustainable and accessible energy is promising. The development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power has become increasingly cost-effective. Additionally, advancements in energy storage technology have made it possible to store renewable energy for use during low production. As the world prioritizes sustainable and affordable energy, more progress will likely be made toward achieving SDG 7.
Read More: Tackling Clean Water Scarcity: Indian Companies Embrace CSR Initiatives in Support of SDG 6