Global coalition to power 1 billion people with sustainable energy by 2030

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the formation of a global coalition aimed at providing sustainable energy for one billion people within this decade.

Organisations joining this call to action include the African Development Bank, CDC the UK’s development finance institution, European Investment Bank, International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), US International Development Finance Corporation and US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Today one in ten of the world’s people (800 million) lack access to electricity, including half the population of sub-Saharan Africa. Another 2.8 billion people lack access to electricity that is reliable enough to secure their livelihoods or power modern healthcare facilities and schools. The pandemic has only exacerbated the inequality of global energy access.

As the world begins to focus on vaccine distribution and stimulus to help bring about a rapid end to the devastation of COVID-19, the new coalition is focused on unleashing the full potential of distributed renewable and sustainable energy systems, including technologies such as mini-grids; grid-connected local generation and storage; renewable power solutions for industrial and commercial clusters; and stand-alone commercial appliances.

Over the past decade, technological breakthroughs have made these systems more affordable and easier to deploy; harnessing their impact is essential for rapidly providing electricity to power modern economies and critical social services.

As founding members of this Coalition, the organisations commit to:

  • Launch a global partnership to end energy poverty, bringing together local, national, regional and international leaders, and institutions from the public and private sectors to unleash the full potential of distributed renewable energy systems (DRE) to improve the livelihoods of a billion people.
  • Mobilise and coordinate concrete DRE roadmaps to unlock public and private capital flows into DRE technologies that will create local jobs, promote sustainable livelihoods, and build an environmentally smart, resilient electricity grid of the future.
  • Identify and support appropriate regulatory, policy, and financial regimes in partnership with national leadership in order to build capacity and create an environment to increase sustainable energy technology investments and associated economic development partnerships.
  • Collaborate to enhance project development and new financing instruments to catalyse billions of dollars of additional annual investment in DRE projects in underserved markets.

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European Investment Bank vice-president Ambroise Fayolle, adds: “The adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, are undermining the ability of countries to achieve sustainable development, and particularly the most vulnerable. Accelerating high-impact investments to improve access to clean energy is essential to address the climate crisis, fight poverty and improve public health.

“That’s why the European Investment Bank is very pleased to join forces with The Rockefeller Foundation and its “Green and Equitable Recovery Call to Action” as a platform to promote the energy transition across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, by unlocking public and private capital flows into distributed renewable energy systems. This great initiative is fully in line with the strategic priorities and orientations of EIB’s Energy Lending Policy and Climate Bank Roadmap”.

Francesco La Camera, director general of IRENA, said “Renewables-based energy strategies can help achieve multiple economic, social and climate priorities -improving the livelihood of millions of people, creating much needed new jobs and erasing energy poverty. The world after Covid-19 can be more resilient, prosperous, fair and equitable – leaving no one behind.”

UNDP administrator Achim Steiner noted that: “Ending energy poverty is critical for people and nations to thrive. We know clean energy can both rapidly deliver universal energy access and contribute to tackling the climate crisis. We know it can power a green recovery and the transition to a sustainable future. But we need to do more, we need to do it faster, and we need to do it together—we must join forces to step up action on clean energy.”