Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cindy Carr, Sierra Club, cindy.carr [at]
Elizabeth Bast, Oil Change International, ebast [at]

New Report Gives World Bank an ‘F’ on Clean Energy Access
Report Finds Less Than 10 Percent Of Bank’s Energy Investment Targets Poor Populations


WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International released a new report highlighting the failure of the world’s top multilateral development banks (MDBs) to align their energy lending with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) projections for ending energy poverty. The report — Failing to Solve Energy Poverty: How Much International Public Investment is Going to Distributed Clean Energy Access? — benchmarks the clean energy access investments from key institutions including the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, and African Development Bank.

The standards upon which the Banks’ efforts were measured are based on the projections from the IEA’s Energy for All Case, which seeks to achieve global energy access by 2030. In this scenario, the majority of new investment is directed toward off-grid and mini-grid solutions. Each bank is graded on their efforts on a clean energy access “scorecard” — and each received a failing grade.

“At a time when investments in clean energy access for populations living beyond the grid are rapidly expanding, there are one set of institutions missing in action — the world’s top development banks. Just like mobile phones, solar power is poised to leapfrog a centralized and ineffective network. It’s time development institutions aligned their investments with this 21st century reality,” said Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Program and an author of the report.

“Development banks say they want to provide energy for the world’s poorest people, but their actions don’t back up their words. These institutions must do better if we are going to meet the challenge of providing energy access for the poor,” said Heike Mainhardt, Senior Analyst at Oil Change International and one of the report’s authors.

Despite a lack of investment from MDBs, markets for distributed clean energy are growing rapidly. The World Bank’s own Lighting Africa program found a 95 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate for off-grid lighting markets in sub-Saharan Africa. With the proper financial support from these MDBs, these nascent markets could finally help end energy poverty once and for all.

“If these banks are serious about ending energy poverty, they need to get serious about investing in distributed clean energy for populations living beyond the grid,” said Manglik.

The report was produced by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International.



To read the report, click here.


About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit

About Oil Change International
Oil Change International is a research, communications, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy. Oil Change works to achieve its mission by producing strategic research and hard-hitting investigations; engaging in domestic and international policy and media spaces; and providing leadership in organizing resistance to the political influence of the fossil fuel industry. For more information, visit