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Speeches & Transcripts September 24, 2021

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at High-Level Dialogue on Energy

Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished participants, I welcome this opportunity for us to discuss energy challenges.

2.6 billion people still use cooking fuels that harm the environment and health. Nearly 760 million people live without access to electricity. The COVID-19 crisis and inflation have worsened the world’s severe inequalities, leaving millions with even less access to energy.

To achieve greater energy access and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need progress in several areas. Countries with low energy access need appropriate levels of baseload capacity and transitions away from high-carbon energy such as coal, bunker fuel and diesel. Low-carbon solutions to the base-load problem include hydropower, geothermal and gas-to-power in the poorest countries that have no alternatives. Proper maintenance of existing low-carbon generation capacity is vital.  

To transform energy systems, R&D will be needed to bring down the costs of hydrogen and offshore wind, so they can be deployed commercially and at scale. Advances in technologies to achieve carbon capture and energy storage will be essential for delivering reliable and sustainable services. Innovative models, such as distributed renewable energy solutions, mini-grids and off-grid solutions, will allow more remote and poor households to access affordable energy. Solutions will need to be scalable, cost-effective and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over their life cycle.

Efficient electric cooking, decentralized fuel distribution, and advanced biomass stoves are expanding access to clean cooking and demonstrating powerful health, gender, and climate impacts. But to accelerate access to clean cooking in a sustainable, low-carbon way, we need political commitment, investment, and innovation.

The World Bank Group is committed to assisting client countries make progress toward the SDG-7 goal of universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.

We look forward to collaborating with all of you on this critical agenda. Thank you.