Goal #7

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

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

UNSW is committed to this goal and demonstrates its commitment through:

  • world-leading research addressing the most pressing global energy issues
  • courses that cover topics relating to energy policy and engineering
  • our own operational transition to 100% renewable energy through a solar Power Purchase Agreement and on-site renewable energy generation 
  • co-ordination of energy activities across UNSW and industry, government and community stakeholders.

Bypassing fossil fuels

Globally, about 1 billion people do not have access to electricity and 3 billion rely on wood or animal dung for cooking and heating, exposing them to dangerous levels of indoor pollution. So could the use of renewable energy sources like the wind and sun be the pathway to access affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy? In 2007, hydroelectricity was the main source of renewable energy in Australia accounting for 6% of energy. In 2019, contributions from renewables grew to 23% through increases from solar photovoltaics and wind. Renewables are often the lowest cost option for generating electricity, so countries that don't have modern energy systems already can now bypass fossil fuels and develop their energy systems based on renewable energy sources and efficient equipment.


In this video, Professor Alistair Sproul from the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, UNSW, breaks down some of the key challenges behind SDG #7.

Glowing globe in the palm of someones hands

UNSW Clean Energy Capability Portfolio

The Portfolio demonstrates how UNSW plays a critical role in working together with our local and international partners to address the most pressing global energy issues including reliability, affordability and sustainability through research. This includes outlining the research centres and facilities that focus on affordable and clean energy.

Tap into the largest and most diverse grouping of energy experts in Australia. 

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The centres and research groups that contribute to the UNSW Clean Energy Capability Portfolio include: 

UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute

The UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute brings together UNSW's elite researchers and major partners across industry, government, research institutions and the community to advance the blueprint for future energy systems globally.

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The German-Australian Alliance for Electrochemical Technologies for the Storage of Renewable Energy

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UNSW Energy Institute

Over the last 30 years, UNSW has carved a formidable reputation as one of the world's leading research and technology hubs for energy innovation.

The Institute accelerates the role that energy plays in supporting a growing, zero-carbon economy and provides an independent, evidence-based, system-wide understanding of energy’s contribution to the economy, coordinates energy activities across UNSW and collaborates with industry, government, community stakeholders and other research institutions. This includes on the ground international energy developments, global IP partnerships leading solar PV technologies and the creation of a leading social entrepreneur alumni group.

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UNSW Strategy in Action 2025

Environmental sustainability is a key element of our 2025 Strategy. Our students and staff are actively engaged in environmental and social issues. We recognise that we are uniquely positioned to contribute to solving global environmental challenges through teaching, research, thought leadership and demonstrating leading practices on our campuses.


In 2018, UNSW partnered with TransGrid to install the first industrial-scale Tesla battery on an Australian university campus as part of a 10 year energy research trial.

Guinness World Record

In 2018, the UNSW Sunswift solar car team set a Guinness World Record for the lowest energy consumption for a 4,100 km journey across Australia in an electric car.


UNSW transitioned to 100% renewable energy in 2020 through a solar Power Purchase Agreement, as part of their commitment in the UNSW Environmental Sustainability Plan.

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UNSW 2025 Strategy Update

This document celebrates the key achievements of the first phase of the 2025 Strategy, highlighting where we have come from and where we are now. It also updates the framework against which we will assess, track and measure existing and new strategic initiatives over the next five years.


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UNSW Environmental Sustainability Plan

UNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campus operations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) will build on past achievements, while raising our ambition levels to meet the environmental challenges of today.

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