March 19 (UPI) -- Universal access to electricity and a bigger footprint for renewable energy are critical to sustainable development, though progress is lacking, the IEA said.
"It is clear that the energy sector must be at the heart of efforts to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway," Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement Monday. "But our data and analysis show that the current and planned policies fall well short of achieving our critical energy-related sustainable development objectives."
Members of the United Nations in January 2016 adopted 17 sustainable development goals to be reached by 2030. According to both the United Nations and the IEA, energy is a central component of nearly every major global challenge, from universal access to electricity to climate change.
Birol said that progress made in ensuring everyone in the world has access to a reliable source of electricity has been "tremendous," but more than 670 million people will still lack what some developed nations take for granted by 2030.
On Monday, the Asian Development Bank said it was nevertheless making progress. Through its commitments in Afghanistan, one of the poorer countries in the world, the lender has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people who would otherwise have 4 hours or less of power per day.
For renewables, the IEA said the global share in terms of final energy consumption is close to 10 percent globally, but that would need to at least double in order to reach 2030 goals.
"While wind and solar deployment has accelerated, thanks to falling costs and policy support in many parts of the world, this goal is still out of reach under current policies," he said.