Increasing energy access reduces poverty, increases global environmental and climate protection, and promotes economic growth both in the United States and abroad. Universal energy access would improve economic conditions and mitigate conditions that lead to conflict and extremism, thereby having a direct beneficial effect on U.S. national security. Addressing the challenges of the 1.3 billion people who lack access to electricity – or the 2.7 billion people who lack access to clean cooking facilities – is key to the well-being and economic development of a large percentage of the world’s population.
The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative was launched by UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon in 2011, and high level representatives met at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20-22 June 2012, with full participation of civil society, to renew their commitment to sustainable development and to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations. As part of the Rio+20 meeting, the United States committed to support the SE4ALL initiative, which has also secured significant private sector investments. The SE4ALL initiative aspires to meet the following goals by 2030:
• Energy Access: ensure universal access to modern energy services, to include electricity and clean cooking facilities;
• Renewable Energy: double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix;
• Energy Efficiency: double the pace at which the world improves its energy efficiency.
A High-Level Group, including Energy Secretary-designate Ernie Moniz, developed a “Global Action Agenda” and mobilized private sector, civil society, and country commitments and actions through public-private partnerships. The initiative is comprised of a High-level Advisory Board, co-chaired by the Secretary General and President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank, an Executive Committee, chaired by Chad Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America, and a Global Facilitation Team with Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, current Director General of UNIDO, serving as Special Representative and CEO.
More than $50 billion has been committed toward the initiative – with a vast majority from the private sector. The United States announced the provision of $2 billion from FY11 funds and authorities for grants, loans, and loan guarantees in support of SE4ALL. Currently, 65 countries have engaged with the initiative and are developing energy plans and programs. The majority are from developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Small Island Developing States.
The Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) has been a leader in formulating the engagement strategy for SE4ALL. The initiative is in the process of identifying priority early stage countries for an initial set of projects aimed at demonstrating financially sound energy access strategies. An example of ENR’s work is through the development of replicable business models that target the use of limited public funds to unlock and leverage private capital for financing small-scale off-grid clean energy projects in India and Ghana.
April 17 – In-person meeting of the Executive Committee in Washington, D.C.
April 19 – Inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.
May 27 – In-person meeting of the Executive Committee in Vienna, Austria.