$20bn investment shortfall identified for SDG 7
An extra $20bn (£15.5bn) of finance will be needed each year to achieve a UN goal to provide universal, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, research has found.
The study highlights how financing for the Sustainable Development Goal 7 remains “dramatically short” of the $52bn required, languishing at just $30.2bn for the 20 countries most in need.
It was also found that investment for clean cooking access in these nations fell by 5% to just $30m in 2015/16 – far short of the $4.4bn needed to tackle a problem facing three billion people.
Moreover, the research from the UN-backed Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) reveals a worrying rise in annual finance for coal plants, which almost tripled from $2.8bn to $6.8bn that year.
SEforALL CEO, Rachel Kyte, said: “The good news is that renewables offer us a powerful opportunity to provide reliable and affordable clean electricity both through the grid and off-grid.
“The bad news is that we are not yet seeing a strong enough project pipeline or sufficient levels of public investment.
“Even more worrying is that, at the same time we’re seeing an incremental increase in funding for renewable energy, investments in coal increased. Coal is not an answer to energy poverty.”
The findings are thought to be particularly alarming for Africa, which received just 17% of the finance tracked by SEforALL, despite nearly 600 million people living without energy access in the region.
It was found that two-thirds of all the investment was concentrated in South Asia, with India, Philippines and Bangladesh receiving most.
The researchers argue that international public financial institutions should fulfil their finance gap commitments, and that policymakers prioritise non-coal fired or fossil fuel power generation.
“Regions with the highest needs, like sub-Saharan Africa, are getting the smallest share, while we’re seeing big gaps for some of the technologies with the most promise,” Climate Policy Initiative executive director, Dr Barbara Buchner, said.
“This should be a wake-up call to policymakers and investors who are working to ensure universal and sustainable energy.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM