During the solar policy debates that have happened in the United States over the past several years, many conversations about what low-income utility customers want have taken place without the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) being in the room. But now that the organization has published its 2017 report “Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide,” it’s clear that the views of its constituents have been misrepresented in these meetings.
The growth of the off-grid solar appliance market hints at untapped opportunities for investors to support energy access goals. According to the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, in the first half of 2017, over 3.5 million such products were sold globally, yielding nearly $100 million in sales. Over 8 million products were sold in 2016. These figures represent impressive headway toward providing modern energy services to the poorest members of global society.
When refugees and migrants escape adverse circumstances in search of better lives, the organizations that assist them tend to not prioritize sustainable energy development as a tactic. But if these relief providers follow the recommendations of two reports published by the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility and Moving Energy Initiative, they will start doing so.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the front line of climate change, facing the damage of shrinking coastlines and the ravages of tropical storms. However, these 57 island nations around the world can attempt to address this global challenge by relying on their renewable resources including sunshine, wind, hydropower and biomass. The topic was the subject of multiple events in November at COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
In 2017, a number of companies have been working to use blockchain technology to enable alternative markets for energy trading and models for renewable energy financing. The more prominent ones include Suncontract, PowerLedger and Wepower. This may result in increased transparency for energy transactions.
As world leaders met in Bonn, Germany in November for COP23, the challenge of climate finance projects in developing countries took center stage. A second challenge receives less attention: fewer than 10 percent of development finance from international climate funds reaches the local level. This finding is presented in a paper called “Delivering Real Change: Getting International Climate Finance to the Local Level.” It was published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a London-based policy-research group.
As decision makers gathered at COP23 this November in Bonn, Germany, they considered strategies that could empower them to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financing sustainable infrastructure is one of the keys to putting these goals in motion. According to Laura Canas da Costa, senior advisor in sustainable infrastructure financing at WWF Switzerland, developing nations will be building extensive amounts of infrastructure as they pursue the SDGs. Traditionally, up to 70 percent of infrastructure financing comes from the public sector.
Although clean energy may not take center stage as the star employment generator in the Great Recession recovery, it plays an important supporting role, according to Jim Barrett, chief economist at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This goes above and beyond the economic benefits of climate protection reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Adoption of solar power and microgrid technologies has been on the rise in frontier and growth markets. This trend results from declining equipment costs and increasing support from development funds, government programs, and impact investors. But there is much room to fill. There are as many as 1.1 billion people around the globe who still don’t have access to a reliable supply of electricity. Microgrids can help address the issue without expensive transmission and distribution infrastructure.
As part of President Trump’s resolution to cut government spending, the White House has proposed drastic budget reductions for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) – and for its clean energy office. These may affect the State Energy Program (SEP), which has yielded broad-ranging health and economic benefits.
In regions of the developing world where electrical grids are weak or nonexistent, people often rely on kerosene. In a webinar on Sept. 16, staff from four pay-as-you-go solar companies described how they are building rural sales networks in Africa and India to replace kerosene lighting.
On the surface, Citi’s recommendations of global climate investment goals, published in August in the report “Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth,” look deceptively simple. But a closer look at the patchwork of international regulations, legislation, and carbon markets reveals that financing clean energy in developing nations may be quite challenging to accomplish.
How can social enterprises finance solar power and other investments sustainably while also bringing funding up to scale? SELCO Foundation hosted two roundtable discussions in India in 2014 and 2015 to ask stakeholders how to respond to these challenges. The roundtables and a set of interviews yielded a report, “Bridging Gaps: Investors and Social Energy Enterprise.”
Imagine you could design the electricity market in one state from scratch. There are no pre-existing programs to satisfy and no political baggage to consider. Your only guideline is to allow the continued growth of solar power and distributed generation. You’re given a blank slate on which to envision a long-term, sustainable energy market. What would it look like?
On Oct. 20, stakeholders from across the clean-energy-finance sector came together for the day-long conference in New York City, Innovations in Clean Energy Finance IV: Market Successes and Lessons for Lower Income.