Access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is vital to driving economic growth and ending extreme poverty. Around 1.1 billion people worldwide still live without access to electricity. Another 2.9 billion rely on wood or other biomass for cooking and heating, resulting in indoor and outdoor air pollution attributable for 4.3 million deaths each year. Modern energy can help improve the quality of life for millions around the world and underpin progress in all areas of development.

The World Bank supports countries secure the affordable, reliable and sustainable energy needed to end poverty. With renewed commitment to climate action following the Paris Conference of Parties (COP21) Agreement, we assist countries as they develop environmentally, financially, fiscally, and socially sustainable energy sectors.

These objectives are reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on energy, or SDG7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. SDG7 is one of 17 goals adopted by the United Nations to address the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development by 2030.

To help achieve SDG7, the World Bank is working with many countries to accomplish three Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) goals by 2030:

  • Universal access to electricity and clean cooking fuels
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and
  • Doubling the improvement rate of energy efficiency

We take a long-term holistic approach, emphasizing the need to build strong financial, operational, and institutional frameworks for sustainable energy sectors. We also seek to foster private sector participation and investment; embrace a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach to the development of energy projects that acknowledge and reflect individual country circumstances.

The World Bank is a knowledge hub for SE4All, leading numerous agencies in major collaborative projects to monitor and report on energy development outcomes.

This led to the Global Tracking Framework, a suite of indicators and an accompanying data platform, which make it possible to track the progress of all countries towards the energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy goals.

A related project, Readiness for Investment in Sustainable Energy (RISE), provides indicators comparing the investment climate in countries across the three SE4All goals.


Last Updated: Apr 05, 2016

Expanding access to modern energy services is a cornerstone of the World Bank’s objectives, as laid out in the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Directions Paper

Climate change presents enormous challenges and opportunities for development, making it essential that energy and climate challenges be tackled in an integrated way. To that end, the Bank Group is working to help countries strengthen their climate resilience and adaptive capacity, delivering affordable and efficient energy in a low-carbon manner and in a way that is consistent with their national and global climate commitments.

In countries with low energy access the priority is providing affordable and reliable energy. Grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions are pursued, while engagement in cleaner cooking and heating solutions is expanding.

The Bank Group supports development of energy sectors based on lowest-cost options with an emphasis on renewable sources, such as hydropower, wind, solar, and geothermal, while also promoting energy efficiency. Projects support achievement of universal access to electricity and modern household fuels, as well as improved utility performance and sector governance.

We are scaling up efforts to improve energy efficiency, and support all forms of renewable energy. The Bank Group is helping countries develop national and regional gas markets and where it makes economic sense use natural gas as a lower-carbon energy source. We also focus on long-term energy planning, and promote market solutions—supported by the right policy, regulatory, and contractual frameworks—to further leverage our financial resources.

The Bank Group also supports strategic technical assistance initiatives through global partnerships and trust funds such as the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR). These initiatives include the Sustainable Energy for All Technical Assistance Program to help countries reach the 2030 goal of universal energy access; the Global Geothermal Development Plan; Lighting Africa; Lighting Asia; Renewable Energy Resource Mapping; Energy Efficiency Guidance Notes; and the Energy Subsidy Reform Technical Assistance and Delivery Facility.

We recognize the global challenge of balancing energy for development with its impact on climate change and strive to help countries realize affordable alternatives to coal-generated power. The Bank Group will only provide financial support for green-field coal power generation projects in rare circumstances.

Last Updated: Apr 05, 2016

World Bank Group energy financing, including IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA guarantees, has topped $49 billion since 2010, of which over $21 billion was for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. World Bank Group financing in the sector totaled $6.5 billion in FY15.

Energy Access

In FY15, there were 23 active projects worth $1.2 billion. Between 2013 and 2015, Bank Group financing brought new or improved electricity supply to nearly 29 million people.

For example, 43,000 households got electricity through grid extension and off-grid renewable energy sources in Laos through the Lao Rural Electrification Project, taking access levels from 15% in the mid-1990s to about 90% today. In Bangladesh, 18.5 million people now have electricity—delivered by solar panels—thanks to a major project partly financed by IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.

Energy Efficiency

In FY15, there were 51 energy efficiency projects in the Bank’s portfolio, for a total lending of $3.2 billion.

The World Bank is providing financial and analytical support for a $100 million “Green Energy for Low-Carbon City in Shanghai, China” project, featuring energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings; clean energy from renewable and natural gas and energy-efficient vehicles and public transport. Similar projects are underway in eight other Chinese cities.

ESMAP also provides assistance to city governments, such as Da Nang in Vietnam, to develop their energy efficiency options, and serves as a knowledge clearinghouse for best practices on energy-efficient urban development.

In Mexico, using climate finance and Global Environment Facility (GEF) support, the Bank helped implement a program replacing over 25 million inefficient light bulbs with CFLs, and almost 2 million old refrigerators with new, highly efficient ones, all targeted to low-income households. 

In India, the Bank’s “Partial Risk Sharing Facility for Energy Efficiency (PRSF)” project aims to trigger energy efficiency market transformation through demonstration of successful implementation of innovative transaction modality involving the participation of ESCOs. As a pilot-scale engagement co-financed by the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and GEF, a $37 million partial risk sharing facility and associated $6 million technical assistance program address barriers impeding large scale deployment of energy efficiency technologies not being financed by domestic financial institutions due to perceived risks in such investments. The project is aimed at mobilizing $125 million of private sector investments and catalyzing the scaling up of energy savings performance contracting market through ESCOs.

Renewable Energy

A 100 MW Sere wind plant in South Africa under the Eskom Renewables Support Project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to six million tons over 20 years. With an average annual energy production of about 298,000 MWh, Sere will supply sufficient energy to the grid to power approximately 124,000 homes.

Morocco has launched the first 160 MW Noor I solar power plant, which is expected to help avoid 240,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. By 2018, the three-phase project will be the largest of its kind in the world, with over 500 MW of installed capacity, and will produce enough clean power to meet the needs of 1.1 million Moroccans.

Support for hydropower has included financing for the Bujagali run-of-river hydropower project, now meeting half of Uganda’s electricity needs. This project has nearly eliminated blackouts in the country. IDA supported the Felou hydroelectric project, increasing low-cost power to utilities in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal by 63 MW.

The Bank is also helping boost geothermal power generation capacity in South Sumatra and North Sulawesi in Indonesia, with the aim of adding 150 MW of capacity.

Extractive Industries and Energy

Power of the Mine: A Transformative Opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa” brings the energy and extractives industries together. The report suggests that mining companies—with their large demand for power—can become anchor customers to national electricity utilities, in turn helping to expand electricity access to communities and enterprise consumers in Africa.

Last Updated: Apr 05, 2016

Solar home systems were installed in remote areas of Peru, benefitting about 31,500 people
Source »

More Photos »