Energy for Growth Hub
Better Metrics and Data

The Modern Energy Minimum

Our ambitious new metric of higher electricity consumption: 1,000 kWh per person per year.

Let’s Aim for the Modern Energy Minimum

The Issue

No country in human history has become wealthy without massive increases in energy consumption. Global efforts to fight energy poverty must provide energy at a scale that can lift people out of poverty, create jobs, and drive economic development. We need to aim higher.


  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) calls for modern energy access for all, defined as  50-100 kWh per person per year at home.
  • 100 kWh is enough to power several light bulbs for a few hours a day, charge a mobile phone, and occasionally run a fan or other small appliance. It’s not enough for modern appliances.
  • The access target does not cover energy used outside the home, even though most electricity is used in Industry and commerce.

That’s why basic electricity access, as currently measured for SDG7, is only a first step.

Our Approach

We propose the Modern Energy Minimum as the next step on the energy ladder. The new Minimum raises the bar to 1,000 kWh per person per year, with at least 300 kWh at home and 700 kWh consumed in the wider economy.

Our goal is for the next iteration of the SDGs to include the Modern Energy Minimum as an additional indicator for tracking progress against energy poverty. Adopting a more ambitious target will ensure that efforts to end energy poverty result in development.

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