Tuesday, June 7, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Elizabeth Bast, Oil Change International, 202-641-7203, ebast [at] priceofoil [dot] org
Patricia Brooks, ActionAid USA, 202-351-1757
Report Finds World Bank’s Energy Lending Fails to Target the Poorest, Calls for Decentralized Clean Energy to Achieve Development Goals
WASHINGTON, D.C. – New research released today by Oil Change International, ActionAid International and Vasudha Foundation in India reveals the World Bank Group’s energy lending is not targeted at the world’s poorest. The report finds only 9 percent of the World Bank Group’s energy lending in the last two years targets energy for the poor.
A review of World Bank energy lending documents shows that the large majority of the Bank’s energy lending does not focus on the 20 percent of the global population who lack access to energy, with over 90 percent of the energy portfolio failing to focus on creating new electricity connections for those who lack access; on electricity for services important to the poor, such as health clinics, schools, or telecommunications; or on energy for productive uses in energy-poor communities.
The report also shows that increased energy access for the poor can be achieved affordably through decentralized renewable energy – rather than through the centralized fossil fuel projects that are often financed.
“With many people without access to energy services living in rural areas far from the electricity grid, we have found that decentralized renewable energy systems are both cheaper and more reliable than extending the grid to remote communities,” said Srinivas Krishnawamy of Vasudha Foundation, an author of the report.
“Poor people are the ones suffering from pollution, climate change, and negative health impacts from fossil fuels. The best approach, and the fairest, is to focus on clean, off-grid energy solutions for the poor that not only provide them energy, but decrease the harmful impacts of our addiction to fossil fuels,” said Ilana Solomon, Senior Policy Analyst with ActionAid.
The World Bank Group has indicated an intention to focus on energy access and clean energy as part of its new energy sector strategy, which is currently being revised.
“If the World Bank is serious about fighting poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it needs to prove it by shifting lending to benefit people without access to energy and to clean energy options that will not increase the impact of global warming on the world’s most vulnerable populations. The World Bank’s current energy portfolio leaves much to be desired for the world’s poorest and for protecting the planet,” said Elizabeth Bast of Oil Change International, one of the report’s authors.
The report released today, ‘Access to Energy for the Poor,’ can be found at: http://priceofoil.org/educate/resources/access-to-energy-for-the-poor-the-clean-energy-option/