World’s multilateral development banks are still to set clear energy access targets, and collectively track energy access finance and its outcomes

1 bn people around the world lack access to electricity, and some 3 bn still rely on polluting solid fuels — like wood or charcoal — for cooking.

The International Energy Agency maintains that, to achieve universal electricity access by 2030, off-grid and mini-grid solutions would have to account for over 2/3 of additional electricity supply investment.

World’s multilateral development banks like the World Bank Group, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are taxpayer-funded institutions charged with helping to end global poverty. But they are not yet fast enough to scale up support for energy solutions for the world’s poorest, concludes a new report from Oil Change International.

From 2014 through 2017, MDBs directed just 2% of their energy finance toward the off-grid and mini-grid energy solutions. “Off-grid and mini-grid solutions should be a central part of these institutions’ plans, especially in regions with the lowest rates of energy access, including Africa,” said Thuli Makama, Africa Senior Advisor at Oil Change International.

MDBs do not track finance for energy access or progress toward energy access goals in a consistent, harmonised way. This makes it difficult to assess claims about their energy access finance. On the bright side however, unlike the other MDBs, the African Development Bank has set quantitative targets for energy access, and tracks new connections from off-grid energy and household access to clean cooking in its Results Measurement Framework.

The secretary of the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE), Alfonso G. Cusi, has recently outlined the government’s aim to stimulate the deployment of mini and microgrids in the East Asian country by tapping renewable energy. The goal is to achieve total electrification by 2022.