Energy is a cornerstone of the world’s development agenda. Reliable, affordable access to modern energy services results in better jobs, health care and education. Women can walk home under the safety of streetlights and opportunities abound for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Very simply, access to energy can help end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. That’s why the world committed to Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all as one of 17 goals for 2030, and to dramatically increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. The historic Paris climate change agreement in 2015 underscored the need to adopt as much clean energy as possible in order to limit global warming to under a 2°C increase. Energy targets also feature prominently in many countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions.
Achieving these energy goals calls for more than a trillion dollars of investment annually, which in turn requires an unprecedented scale-up of both public and private finance.
Investment in sustainable energy is affected by many factors, including market size, country risk, and financial markets, to name but a few. But a country’s policies and regulations also matter, and they are directly under the control of government.
But how can one find out if policymakers around the world truly rising to the challenge posed by the new global sustainable energy agenda? And where is further action needed urgently?
This is where the global sustainable energy scorecard RISE comes in.
RISE – Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy -- assesses countries’ policy and regulatory support for each of the three pillars of sustainable energy—access to modern energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
RISE 2016 finds that:
- Numerous countries are emerging as sustainable energy leaders across the developing world, but while progress is encouraging, there remain significant gaps in policy and regulatory frameworks.
- Sub-Saharan Africa—the least electrified continent and home to about 600 million people without electricity—has one of the least developed policy environments to support energy access.
- Policy frameworks for grid densification and expansion, which are the mainstay of electrification efforts, lag substantially and still need to make progress.
- Too many countries are missing out on using solar power for universal electrification by neglecting enabling policies for stand-alone solar home systems.
- It is critical to find ways to make electricity access affordable for consumers but make it financially viable for the utilities that provide the service at the same time.
- Energy efficiency is often overlooked in the policy agenda, and many countries that have worked on energy efficiency measures have tended to do so on a relatively superficial level. Critical aspects of energy efficiency, including the role of utilities, remain in their infancy.
- Efficient administrative procedures, such as hoe long consumers wait to get electricity connections or how long it takes a developer to start up a mini-grid are essential to accelerate progress on sustainable energy goals.
With 27 indicators covering 111 countries and representing 96 percent of the world population, RISE provides a reference point to help policymakers benchmark their sector policy and regulatory framework against those of regional and global peers, and to develop policies and regulations that advance sustainable energy goals.
Each RISE indicator targets an element of the policy or regulatory regime important to mobilizing investment, such as establishing planning processes and institutions, introducing dedicated incentives or support programs, and ensuring financially sound utilities.
Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of the strength and breadth of government support for sustainable energy and the actions they have taken to turn that support into reality.
RISE classifies countries into a green zone of strong performers in the top third, a yellow zone of middling performers, and a red zone of weaker performers in the bottom third. It will be updated every two years and an upcoming, complementary joint World Bank and International Energy Agency (IEA) report – Global Tracking Framework – will track how countries are performing on sustainable energy goals.