The Global Goals

The Nordic Countries and SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Tracking the progress of the Nordic countries towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7

In 2015, all United Nations (UN) member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), establishing a global agenda to create a better world by 2030. This data tracker looks at Nordic countries’ progress towards achieving SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The goal comprises 5 distinct targets.

Using the latest official data, we first explore global trends and then zoom in on the Nordic countries to make an assessment of: i) a country’s current distance to target based on the most recent data, and ii) a country’s likelihood of achieving the target by 2030 based on current trends. The Nordic countries are classified into one of five categories for each target:

  • Met: The country has already met the 2030 target.
  • On track: The country has not yet met the target but is on track to do so by 2030.
  • Short distance: The country has not met the target and is not projected to do so but is close to achieving it. This category also applies when the country currently meets the target but is projected to move away from it.
  • Long distance but progressing: The country is far from the target but is making progress towards it.
  • Long distance and not progressing: The country is far from the target and is not making progress towards reaching it.

The assessment follows the methodology developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for monitoring country level progress towards the SDGs. Note that while we adhere to the OECD methodology, the OECD is not affiliated with the analysis and calculations presented here.

Further details on the methodology:

Target levels in 2030: If the UN’s SDG framework does not explicitly set target levels for 2030, the analysis follows the target end-values chosen by the OECD as relevant for OECD countries, following either the level achieved by the best performing countries in the OECD or with reference to international agreements.

Distance to target: A country’s distance to the target is measured in OECD standardized units. A short distance is defined as less than 0.5 units away, and a long distance is more than 0.5 units away. Values are normalized based on the most recent observations for OECD countries.

Trend assessment: Historical data for a country is analyzed for a clear increasing or decreasing trend. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient between observed data and time is calculated. A coefficient greater than +0.2 and significant at the 10% level indicates a clear increasing trend, while a coefficient less than -0.2 and significant at the 10% level indicates a clear decreasing trend. No assessment is made unless a minimum of three years of data within a five-year period is available for a country on a specific indicator.

Likelihood of reaching target in 2030: Monte Carlo simulations are used to estimate the likelihood of reaching target levels by 2030. 10,000 simulations are performed per country for each target. A country is classified as having a high likelihood of reaching the target if more than 75% of the randomized projections meet the target level. If fewer than 75% of the projections meet the target, the likelihood is classified as low.

Please be aware that this analysis is continually evolving. We monitor for new data daily from the UN and OECD databases, and when new data is released for a target, we update the country assessment accordingly. As a result, the text and visualisations may change at any time. Consult the changelog at the end of the page for details on revisions and updates.

Target 7.1

By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services


7.1.1Proportion of population with access to electricity
7.1.2Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology

Global trends

7.1.1. Access to electricity

There has been progress globally in expanding access to electricity. In 2021, 91% of the world population had access, up from 78% in 2000 and 84% in 2010. The vast share of those remaining without access are living in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To achieve universal coverage by 2030, the pace of progress needs to increase further, as the UN estimates that based on the current trajectory, 670 million people are expected to be without electricity access in 2030.

Note that the regional groupings used in the visualisation above (and all other visualisations on this page with regional data) follow the UN regional classification for the Sustainable Development Goals.

7.1.2. Access to clean cooking fuels and technology

Despite steady progress over the past decades in improving access to clean cooking fuels and technology, 29% the global population relies on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, such as biomass, kerosene, or coal.

Increasing access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, such as electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, biogas, and solar, will have positive effects on both health and climate.

Importantly, the increase in access to clean cooking fuels and technologies over the last decade was largely due to increased access in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, according to the UN. Excluding those five countries, access rates remained largely unchanged in the rest of the world. In Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand), under 20% of the population has access to clean fuels and technologies as of 2021.

The Nordics

All the Nordic countries have universal access to electricity (both in urban and rural areas as shown in the chart below), as well as universal access to clean cooking fuels and technology. This target is therefore already achieved.

Target 7.2

By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix


7.2.1Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption

Global trends

Only marginal progress has been made in recent years in increasing the share of renewables in energy consumption. In 2020, the share of renewables in total final energy consumption stood at 19.1%, up from 16% in 2010 and 16.9% in 2000.

The renewable share varies substantially by sector. In the electricity sector, it has increased from approximately 20% to 26% from 2010 to 2019. In the transport sector, renewable energy accounts for only 3.6% of energy consumption, up from 2.6% in 2010. In the heat sector, renewables accounted for 23.4% in 2019 up from 22.7% in 2010.

In the heat sector, traditional use of biomass (for example the burning of wood for heating) plays a major role, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the renewable share (including traditional use of biomass) stood for over two-thirds of total energy consumption.

The Nordics

While there is no set SDG numerical target for the renewable share at country level, the OECD has operationalised the target as twice the OECD median share in 2015 (33%). Assessed against these target levels, all the Nordic countries are currently above the target threshold according to the latest data.

To complement the global indicator of the renewable energy share in the total energy consumption, the OECD includes an additional indicator on the renewable share of electricity production. Operationalised in the same way as doubling of the OECD median from 2015 (61%), all the Nordic countries except Finland are currently above the target threshold.

A combined assessment of both indicators shows that Denmark, Norway and Iceland have already met the target and on track for 2030. Finland is making progress towards it, but not on track to reach it by 2030. While Sweden is currently above the target threshold for both indicators, projections show a low likelihood of staying above the target level in 2030 for renewable energy production.

Target 7.3

By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency


7.3.1Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP

Global trends

The indicator is defined as the amount of energy used per unit of wealth created, mesured by the ratio between total energy supply to the annual GDP created. A lower ratio means improved energy efficiency. The first chart shows the annual ratio from 2000 to 2020, which has improved from 5.6 megajoules per unit of wealth in 2010 to 4.6 megajoules in 2019.

Apart from in Oceania, energy efficiency has improved faster over the last decade (2010-2020) than on average from 1990 to 2010. However, to reach the target of doubling the improvement in energy efficiency, the global rate needs to improve by 3.2% on average each year to 2030 (improve means decrease further).

The Nordics

The OECD has operationalised the target for this indicator as doubling the OECD median value from 2015. This entails reaching a level of energy efficiency of 1.7 megajoules energy used per unit of wealth produced. Currently none of the Nordics have reached this target, and only Denmark is on track to reach it by 2030. Finland, Norway and Sweden have all made progress but insufficient to reach the target. Iceland is not making progress towards the target.

Target 7.a

By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology


7.a.1International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems

Global trends

While the target entails a commitment to enhancing international cooperation, there is no set numerical target for 2030. UN data does however shed light on the international financial flows to developing countries to support clean and renewable energy. In 2020 it reached a total of approximately 11 billion, down from 26 billion in 2017.

The Nordics

No assessment is made on this indicator for the Nordics, as the distribution of international flows will depend on the national context.

Target 7.b

By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support


7.b.1Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)

Global trends

Renewable capacity in developing countries reach close to 268 Watts per capita in 2021. Hydropower has been the dominant renewable over the past two decades, yet over the past years growth in hydropower capacity has stalled, with solar and wind accounting for most of the increase. Renewable capacity has expanded in all regions, with the highest increase since 2010 occurring in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.

Target not applicable for the Nordic countries.

About the data

The data presented on global, regional, and national trends are from the UN SDG Global Database and the OECD unless otherwise stated.


  • First release July 2022
  • Data and text update December 2022
  • Data and text update April 2023 following the release of new UN data

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