World Bank report: ‘Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All’

In the G20 communiqué, reported on in yesterday’s GallonDaily article, there is a specific reference to a World Bank report ‘Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All’ which was issued in July of this year. We thought we should take a look.

The report is fairly short and subtitled ‘Directions for the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector’. Among the conclusions:

  • Economic growth, which is essential for poverty reduction, is not possible without adequate energy
  • In rural, remote or isolated areas, off-grid solutions based on renewable energy combined with energy efficient technologies could be the most rapid means of providing cost-effective energy services.
  • As part of a drive for universal access, financial solutions or guarantees will be made available for the most feasible energy options for the poor and for people living in fragile and conflict-affected states
  • The WBG acknowledges the global challenge of balancing energy for development with its impact on climate change and will help client countries realize affordable alternatives to coal power.
  • Efforts to improve energy efficiency—one of the most cost-effective ways to expand supply and reduce environmental impact—will be scaled up according to countries’ needs and opportunities.
  • Sustainable development of run-of-river, pumped storage, and reservoir hydropower projects that meet environmental and social safeguard standards will continue. Despite its potential, hydropower remains largely untapped in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and other parts of the developing world, and for some may be the largest available source of affordable renewable energy
  • The World Bank Group will help tackle regulatory and financial barriers to the adoption of climate-smart energy solutions. Steps include promoting deployment of energy solutions at scale to bring down costs, sending the right price signals, providing investors and the public with up-to-date information, and establishing and enforcing the right regulatory framework to accelerate the transition to a climate-smart future.
  • The World Bank Group will continue to be a partner in innovation and technology transfer, particularly through demonstration projects to promote new clean energy technologies, innovative policy tools and market mechanisms, and capacity building.
  • Resource opportunities for countries to make transitions to sustainable energy vary greatly. In some cases, natural gas is likely to make an important contribution.
  • The World Bank Group will encourage developed countries to provide incentives for more efficient and environmentally sound energy production and consumption and support research and development for new energy technologies.
  • The World Bank Group recognizes that leadership from developed countries and large emerging economies in pricing carbon, moving new technologies and other innovations to markets, and deploying them at scale is critical to address greenhouse gas emissions. By contrast, achieving universal access would have a negligible environmental impact— increasing greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1 percent. While World Bank Group engagement will continue to favor renewable energy and increased efficiency, the approach will not punish the poor for the actions of others.

The report may be useful to businesses operating in the energy sector as a guide to the projects that the World Bank Group is likely to support in the future. However, as the report’s title suggests, the report is directional rather than quantitative and, in GallonDaily’s opinion, is almost completely lacking of a vision for a low carbon economy approach to meeting the needs of developing countries.

An abstract and a link to the full report can be found at

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