We have had a historic agreement at COP21 but will it drive low carbon development for the 2 billion+ living without access to adequate modern energy?

If there was one thing you certainly got at the Paris climate conference it was high impact launches, alliances and initiatives. Here’s some to watch in 2016:

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI)

Led by African policy-makers under the African Union and supported by donor governments who pledged to raise $10 billion, the AREI reaffirms the goal of achieving universal energy access for all Africans by 2030. Energy is the number one priority for the African Development Bank under the leadership of President Adesina, which also committed to spending 40% of its resources on climate change initiatives by 2020.

The 120 country Solar Alliance

With the Indian government committing $30 million to set up the Solar Alliance headquarters, it aims to turbo boost the solar sector, catalyzing hundreds of millions in investment. The alliance has an ambition to “bring clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all”. The Global Solar Council was also launched during the conference.

Power Africa & Energy Africa Partnership

The US Power Africa campaign aims to create 60 million new connections to energy services in Africa, millions using ‘beyond the grid’ solutions. At COP21, Power Africa signed an MOU with the UK’s Department for International Development which recently launched its Energy Africa campaign, as well as a partnership with Norway focussing on renewables and small-scale solutions.

ElectriFI—derisking finance initiative

The EU, alongside the Global Off Grid Lighting Association and the Alliance for Rural Electrification, launched the blended investment ElectriFI initiative to catalyze investment in rural power projects. The initiative will provide $75 million in high risk, flexible finance to scaleable enterprises in order to attract more private finance to the sector.

Climate Aggregation Platform (CAP) 

The Global Environment Facility announced the CAP at the COP21 Energy Day. The platform will aggregate and standardize investments in small loans and assets, aiming to leverage low cost mainstream investment and build pipelines of low carbon energy projects.

Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communique

Almost 40 countries signed the fossil fuel subsidy reform communique, including a number from emerging economies. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will remove a barrier to the adoption of low carbon energy alternatives. 

Efficiency for Access Coalition

The Clean Energy Ministerial (Global Leap) and SE4ALL announced a new partnership to optimize access to super efficient technologies and use efficiency to advance energy access. The Efficiency for Access Coalition will now begin the implementation of a year of action to mobilize and coordinate commitments from public and private sector partners.   

Research & Policy

As well as headline grabbing announcements by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and Mission Innovation, the International Renewable Energy Agency and Power Africa launched a new partnership to expand information-sharing, while the Energy Access Practitioners Network launched its latest Report on Investing for Energy Access, showcasing the $1billion+ opportunity. The Clean Energy Ministerial and Climate Technology Centre and Network announced a new collaboration to “expand expert policy support to help developing countries bolster clean energy deployment”.

Investment Breakthroughs for Decentralized Renewables

Meanwhile, Enel Green Power& Powerhive announced a $12 million investment to build and operate 1MW portfolio of 100 mini-grids in Kenya, the Asian Development Bank administered a $6 million loan to Simpa Energy India for beyond the grid solar and Generation Investment Management led a $19 million equity round in M-Kopa Solar. This week BBOXX also announced the first beyond the grid securitization of assets and Off-Grid Electric raised $45 million in debt for its micro-solar leasing platform. 

The last few weeks has seen an explosion of new commitments, partnerships and breakthroughs which can help drive the growth of energy access and distributed technologies. There is huge anticipation, huge expectation and huge possibility. 

The challenge now, though, is ensuring that these commitments are turned into action and that they bring clean, safe power to those that need it most.

Please join us and get involved with the Power for All campaign.