New WBCSD publication: Business solutions to enable energy access for all

Photo: Schneider Electric


By Matthew Lynch, Program Manager, WBCSD

Business solutions to enable energy access for all is the first major publication of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Access to Energy initiative. It has been released today to coincide with the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All by the United Nations’ Secretary-General, HE Ban Ki-moon.

Addressing the lack of access to clean, reliable and affordable energy services for billions of people is one of the world’s most critical development challenges and is becoming increasing prominent on the international agenda.

The new WBCSD publication highlights the critical role that business plays in enhancing access to energy and, more broadly, in the expansion and transformation of national energy systems to deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy for all. Business is the primary solution provider in delivering access to energy, bringing to the table innovative products and services, efficient delivery, essential technologies, management and technical capabilities, and financial resources.

The publication presents the key opportunity areas for scaling up this business contribution in expanding access to energy – innovative business models, enabling policy frameworks and financing mechanisms – and provides recommendations on how to enable these opportunities.

Business solutions to enable energy access for all demonstrates clearly how business is already expanding access to clean, reliable and affordable energy services for poor customers, featuring 19 WBCSD member company case studies. These cases highlight concrete examples of how business model innovation helps provide more affordable and reliable products and services, overcomes market barriers or failures, and increases the profitability and scalability of sustainable engagement in low-income energy markets.

However, mobilizing the required scale of investment requires political will and well-designed and stable policies to overcome many of the barriers facing business action. The publication recommends that policy-makers need to focus on prioritizing energy access in national development planning, improving the investment climate and implementing enabling measures to promote the primary energy access solutions.

Meeting universal energy access targets will also require mobilization of significant additional financial resources. Public and development finance mechanisms should be specifically designed to leverage additional private investment. The broader financing architecture must give appropriate consideration to the quality of the regulatory and investment climate, which impact risks and returns associated with private investment.

Finally the publication highlights that partnerships and cross-sector approaches are essential to make these opportunity areas successful and all the WBCSD member company case studies featured in the document involve partnerships of some form. Effective public-private partnerships will be particularly important drivers of progress toward universal access to energy.

Business solutions to enable energy access for all clearly indicates the willingness of the WBCSD membership to work with key stakeholders to support effective action to deliver universal access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. The WBCSD Access to Energy Initiative will pursue this engagement through 2012 – the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All – and beyond.

For more information please contact Matthew Lynch.

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Comment by Caroline Ashley on February 1, 2012 at 21:09

Read why this report - or more specifically Chapter 4 of it - is 'Editor's Choice' for February 2012 on the Practitioner Hub of the Business Innovation Facility and Innovations Against Poverty.

We have even highlighted the most important paragraph and useful checklist for energy entrepreneurs, and made a case for the report on 'failures' that needs to be written next!

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