April 13, 2016

Adam Beitman, Sierra Club,  adam.beitman [at] sierraclub [dot] org
Alex Doukas, Oil Change International, alex [at] priceofoil [dot] org

World Bank Failing to Solve Energy Poverty, Receives ‘F’ in New Report
UN Sustainable Development Goals at Risk, Problem Can Be Fixed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World Bank and other key multilateral developments institutions are failing to solve the crucial issue of energy access for the global poor, and in the process are missing out on the profound opportunities presented by distributed clean energy solutions, concludes to a major new report released today.

According to the the second annual study by Sierra Club and Oil Change International, “Still Failing to Solve Energy Poverty: International Public Finance for Distribute Clean Energy Access Gets another ‘F’,” the World Bank and other institutions are failing to allocate enough of their energy investments to projects that focus on delivering energy access to the poor. At the same time, they are failing to ensure that the energy access funding they do allocate goes to the kind of proven solutions that provide energy access rapidly, particularly distributed renewable energy projects off the grid and microgrids. The report makes clear that at least half of MDB energy budgets should go toward energy access projects, and at least two thirds of that funding should be directed to distributed clean energy, including off-grid and mini-grid solutions.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #7 is to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. “Universal access to electricity” by 2030 is also an explicit goal of the World Bank.

“The World Bank and the other multilateral development banks are failing on energy access for the poor, and failing on distributed clean energy solutions” said Vrinda Manglik, of the Sierra Club’s International Climate and Energy Campaign. “Fortunately, there’s still time to reach the world’s goal of eliminating energy poverty by 2030 if these institutions act fast to re-balance their budgets toward what’s needed: putting at least half of their energy funding toward energy access for the poor, and ensuring that two thirds of that goes toward distributed clean energy projects like mini-grids and off-grid solutions.”

“For far too long, massive centralized power plants and expanding the grid have been the default approach in addressing energy poverty–a strategy which has clearly failed to reach the world’s poorest” said Alex Doukas of Oil Change International. “The world’s development banks have a mandate to end poverty, yet they’ve largely ignored one of the most powerful tools to achieve that goal: distributed clean energy solutions that can get electricity to the global poor right away.”

The report can be found here: