Financing sustainable energy for all.

Author:George, Anita Marangoly

For the global community, universal sustainable energy must be a top priority. We owe it to the 1.1 billion people still living without electricity and the 2.9 billion people still using polluting biomass fuels for cooking and heating. Energy is fundamental to ending poverty as it underpins economic growth and progress in all areas of development--from food security to clean water, education, jobs and health care.

With the declaration of 2012 as the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, a number of themes emerged that have formed the basis for our work on energy at the World Bank Group. They also underpin the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, a United Nations-led multistakeholder partnership between Governments, the private sector and civil society. We are aligning the work of World Bank Group with the SE4All agenda so that countries can mobilize finance and move faster towards the targets set for 2030. These goals are: ensuring 100 per cent access to electricity and modern cooking solutions; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix from 18 to 36 per cent; and doubling the rate at which we use energy efficiently.

SE4All has helped raise the profile of energy related issues, which was reflected in the inclusion of the Sustainable Development Goal on energy (SDG 7) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. SDG 7 aims to "ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all".


Tracking progress on the three objectives of SE4All highlights promising trends. Between 2010 and 2012, the global electrification rate increased from 83 to 85 per cent, and 220 million people got energy access for the first time. Among other promising trends, modern renewables (hydro, wind, solar and geothermal) grew from 8.4 per cent in 2010 to 8.8 per cent in 2012 of total global energy consumption, while global energy intensity fell more than 1.7 percent a year over the two years of tracking. Still, we need to dramatically accelerate these gains if we want to meet the goals. For renewables, despite enormous strides driven largely by lower technology costs, we need to see annual growth of 7.5 per cent a year, up from 4 percent in 2012. We need to improve efficiency and lower the world's energy intensity by at least 2.6 per cent a year. And regions with the greatest energy...

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