SDG Observatory

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.


Affordable and Clean Energy Globally

Across the world, improvements are being made in the area of affordable and clean energy. However, 789 million people still lack access to electricity, and 2.8 billion lack access to clean and safe cooking fuels and technology. Improving access in these areas, particularly for vulnerable communities in developing countries, will be key.

The United Nations also recognizes that it is important this energy not only be affordable and accessible, but also clean and sustainable. Currently, energy remains the largest contributor to climate change, accounting for about 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. The impact of the reliance on unsustainable energy can be seen in the current moment: indoor air pollution from combustible fuels caused an estimated 4.3 million deaths in 2021. Increasing the share of renewable energy on the global scale will prevent better health and well-being for all, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Statistics from the United Nations website.


Affordable and Clean Energy Locally

Texas is a significant contributor to the United States energy system. According to Green Dallas, Texas is the largest petroleum refiner in the US, produces more than 3 times the natural gas than any other state, and also leads in wind and biodiesel production. Issues with the Texas energy grid made national news in February of 2021 when a disastrous winter storm wreaked havoc on ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] and the electric grid. In the future, energy will continue to remain a significant sustainability and accessibility issue. It will be vital for the state of Texas to continue producing renewable energy and be effectively prepared for possible future climate disasters.



Classroom Lighting Management System

A research project was designed to install multiple sensors at different appropriate locations in classroom buildings. Proposed and researched by a Master of Engineering Student, the idea would solve a problem of limited visibility of occupancy-based lighting management systems (sensors) on campus. This research has been developed under the supervision of faculty in a lab setting and is currently being piloted in a meeting room on campus.


Conservation Conversations: The Policy Perspective

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Four people in a video chat.

Photo Source: Recording of the Event

For Campus Sustainability Month in November of 2020, Eco Rep Paulina Hruskoci hosted Conservation Conversations: The Policy Perspective. During this panel event, Paulina hosted speakers from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Green Dallas, and the Roosevelt Institute to discuss renewable energy and climate action legislation. At this event, the most highly attended sustainability month event, the 50+ attendees were able to ask the panelists questions regarding the future of renewables.


Building Energy Consumption

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

UT Dallas is committed to energy conservation and transitioning away from high energy use lighting. Revolving Fund is utilized to fund LED [Light Emitting Diode] retrofits throughout campus. In FY 19, over $60,000 has been spent on retrofits. The construction standards require LED [Light Emitting Diode] s for exterior lighting. The Research and Operations Center West and Bioengineering Science Building are LED [Light Emitting Diode] only buildings. Outreach by Student Government’s Green Initiative and the Office of Sustainability has also been conducted to improve energy consumption. Green Initiative placed light switch stickers in buildings to conserve energy. The Office of Sustainability offers Green Office and Green Lab initiatives to inform staff and faculty on campus how to conserve energy, dispose of waste, and maintain a sustainable workplace. On peak energy usage days, the Office of Sustainability also sends out a mass email regarding sustainability to improve efficiency.


Solar Panels

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Solar Panels at various locations provide some renewable energy to power campus. At Parking Structure 1, four rows of solar panels are designed to produce 227 kW of energy, enough to supply the energy needs for the entire structure. This makes Parking Structure 1 a net-zero energy building. At the Engineering and Computer Science North (ECSN [Engineering and Computer Science North] ) building, solar panels on the roof provide 1.2 kW of energy to be used in the Renewable Energy and Vehicular Technology lab. Solar panels at the UT Dallas Research and Operations Center (ROC [Research and Operations Center] ) provide charging for faculty golf carts, allowing them to drive to the main campus without emissions. Installed in 2021, these 4-kilowatt panels are connected to batteries that are capable of storing 15 kilowatts, which provides for nighttime charging. Lastly, solar thermal panels on the roof of the Student Services Building (SSB [Student Services Building] ) heat the building’s water, decreasing the amount of electricity needed for the building’s operations.


Renewable Energy Research

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 13: Climate Action
A researcher holds up a model of an airplane wing cross-section.

Photo Source: Dallas Innovates Article

The University of Texas at Dallas is leading in several areas of renewable energy research. In 2019, a research team led by Dr. Babak Fahimi developed a generator prototype that uses liquid metal to convert waste heat into clean electricity. Fahimi shared that “heat is an abundant renewable energy source. In data centers, for example, we spend a lot of time getting rid of the heat by using chillers and air conditioning. Our work focuses on recycling that heat back to electricity.”

Read more at the Jonsson School press release.

In 2020, Dr. Todd Griffith, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UT Dallas, won a $3M grant from the Department of Energy to produce a deep-sea wind turbine. The goal of the project is to develop technology for cost effective and reliable energy offshore.

Read more from the Dallas Innovates article.

Through a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, UT Dallas also works to foster collaboration in a research center called WindSTAR. When the group met on campus at UT Dallas in 2018, University and industry researchers were able to share progress and future research projects.


Energy Management Program

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

In our Naveen Jindal School of Management, UT Dallas offers both a MS in Energy Management and an undergraduate concentration and minor in Energy Management. In the MS in Energy Management program, coursework is a synergy of core MBA and energy courses. Instead of focusing on textbooks, much of the curriculum surrounds oil and gas contracts and energy agreements.

Learn more about the MS in Energy Management.

The Energy Management concentration was developed to help fill the need for future managers who understand the interdisciplinary nature of an energy career and are able to identify challenges and opportunities presented by dynamic market conditions. The course deals with both domestic and international energy industries. Upon completing the Energy Management concentration, students will be able to enter management track careers at oil and gas companies, U.S and international energy government service, energy-focused investment banks, financial institutions, consulting companies, and major energy consuming firms; participate in policy formation and evaluation at the federal, state, and local level; and pursue conventional and renewable project development.


Goals / Future Work

  • Expand educational programming regarding energy conservation on campus
  • Continue to support research efforts regarding renewable energy
  • Increase solar panel locations on campus


Other Work We Do

The programs highlighted here are just one piece of the work we do on campus to achieve SDG 7 [Sustainable Development Goal 7] . View the full dataset (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ), guided by the Association of Advancement in Higher Education (AASHEAssociation of Advancement in Higher Education)’s Sustainable Development Goal translation guide.


Learn More

  • Take the online courses regarding Affordable and Clean Energy from SDG Academy
  • Learn more about the targets and indicators at the UN Global Goals website