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Creating a global energy alliance for people and planet

A Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) will be launched today at COP26 to accelerate investment in green energy transitions and renewable power solutions worldwide.

Over the next ten years the Alliance wants to unlock $100 billion in public and private capital and tackle three problems simultaneously

  • Reaching one billion people with reliable, renewable energy;
  • Avoiding and averting four billions tons of carbon emissions;
  • Building an on-ramp to opportunity by creating, enabling or improving 150 million jobs.

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The Alliance also opened a global call for transformational country partnerships, inviting developing and emerging economies to apply for technical support and funding to advance clean energy project ecosystems.

President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia, which holds the G20 presidency in 2022 endorsed the Alliance: “The initiative brings together the critical stakeholders that must align and co-create a sustainable path for our nations and for our grandchildren.”

Transforming the power systems of energy poor countries

Though energy-poor countries emit only 25% of global CO2 emissions, their share of global emissions could grow to 75% by 2050, according to an analysis published by the Alliance. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Transforming the Power System in Energy Poor Countries points out the 81 countries considered to be energy poor are home to almost half the world’s population. Yet, these countries currently only receive 13% of clean energy financing.

There are also 243GW of coal plants being planned, permitted or under construction in developing countries. If these are completed they would emit 38 billion tons of CO2 over the coming decades, almost equal to total global emission in 2020.

Thus, the Alliance announce they will provide more than $10 billion to focus on fossil fuel transitioning, grid-based renewable and distributed energy sources. Alliance partners include:

  • Anchor philanthropic organisations: The Rockefeller Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund;
  • Investment partners: AfDB, Asian Development Bank, EIB, Inter-American Development Bank, IFC, UK’s CDC, US International Development Finance Corporation, World Bank;
  • Country partners: co-hosts of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) Italy and the UK and Denmark.

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Dr Rajiv J. Shah, The Rockefeller Foundation President says: “The world is undergoing an economic upheaval, in which the poorest are falling farther behind and being battered by climate change’s effects. Green energy transitions with renewable electrification are the only way to restart economic progress for all while at the same time stopping the climate crises.

“Providing people with an on-ramp to the modern economy while making real, measurable progress against the existential threat of climate change, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet is one of the boldest, most transformative initiatives in our history.

Renewable energy is now the cheapest option, so how to get everyone access?

Technological breakthroughs over the last decade have made renewables the cheapest option for new power in more than two thirds of the world. For this first time in history the technology exists to reliably and affordably empower people who lack access to electricity. This could boost human development by creating jobs at a massive scale and advance gender equity through increased accessibility, all while cutting emissions.

Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO: “by replacing diesel generators and coal-fired power plants with renewable alternatives we can reduce carbon emissions quickly. The Alliance will work closely with emerging and developing countries who are keen to embrace an inclusive and just energy transition, to bring emissions down and incomes up.”

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The Alliance’s partner members already have relationships in various countries, providing them with an opportunity to fast-track efforts to pilot breakthrough business models. By working with governments to design and implement decarbonisation plans and enhance domestic policies, planning and regulatory frameworks, the Alliance wants to create favourable investment environments and enable end-to-end delivery of national transformational programmes.

These programmes include identification, development, execution, monitoring and scaling of programmes, which should unlock greater levels of investment in clean power sector assets, accelerate equitable energy transitions and achieve near-term carbon reductions.

The Alliance will de-risk expensive early stages of project development by helping countries test strategies and innovative technologies that may have a high initial risk profile, and then scale solutions that work.

Global energy alliance to unlock options

IKEA Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation joined forces earlier this year to commit a combined $1 billion to fight climate change and energy poverty. With the addition of the Bezos Earth fund, the catalytic grant capital provided by the anchor partners should unlock billions of dollars in investment capital from multilateral and development finance institutions. The Alliance will provide grant funding, technical assistance and a range of financing options.

In order to increase investment and impact in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Alliance is recruiting a new set of partners. RF Catalytic Capital, the public charity The Rockefeller Foundation launched in 2020 to pool resources and bring about transformational change, will facilitate the Alliance’s multi-partner investment.

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The Alliance will also fund and coordinate with delivery partners who will be expected to provide policy, technical and project development capacity. In addition to identifying local partners in each market, delivery partners include the COP26 Energy Transition Council, Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, International Renewable Energy Agency, International Solar Alliance, Odyssey, Rocky Mountain Institute, Sustainable Energy for All and the US Government Power Africa programme.

Damiloa Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All: “For 759 million people without electricity, and 2.6 billion people without access to clean cooking solutions ,energy poverty is a daily reality that impacts every aspect of their lives.

“With less than nine years to achieve SDG7 the launch of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet could not come at a better time.”

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Transforming the Power System in Energy Poor Countries report is available online.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a Content Specialist for ESI Africa.

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