Kristina Skierka, Power For All | 6/9/16
Clean Energy Ministerial 7 (CEM7), held last week in San Francisco, was historic for a number of reasons—none more so than it was the first CEM to integrate decentralized renewable energy (DRE or DR energy) on the “main stage” of global energy supply conversations via EnergyAccessX.
Supported by CEM7, Global Leap, U.K. Department for International Development, Power for All and the ClimateWorks Foundation—with a host committee that included Power Africa, Sustainable Energy for All, Energy Access SF, the United Nations Foundation and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association—EnergyAccessX was designed to be a solutions-driven, action-oriented event in the context of CEM7 focused around one key question: “How do we challenge conventional wisdom to accelerate clean universal energy access?”
The planet will be home to more than eight billion people in 2030; in next 15 years non-OECD countries will account for 70 percent of population growth and 90 percent of growth in energy demand. Many of these countries demanding more energy are not CEM member countries, but are influenced by energy technologies that CEM members support and invest in. These countries (including nations like Nigeria and Ethiopia) will either be locked in 19th century approaches that will exacerbate the the exact problems that CEM and the UNFCCC is working so hard to mitigate, or these countries can choose a different future.
High-demand countries of the future can be part of the clean energy revolution; one that not only provides a higher quality of energy products and services to customers, but a faster path to universal energy access. While a number of accelerators were identified at EnergyAccessX (ranging from specific true-costing of energy and equal standards for what constitutes a “successful” business model in energy in the developing world), the theme that carried the day was the need to change mindsets and policies environments.
While proceedings of the day are available for viewing, (see both Power for All Periscope and photos via Instagram) one of the most important outcomes of last week’s event was was the clear and present shared urgency—between large emitter nations of the developed world with the countries struggling with energy access alike—to establish clean energy infrastructure for the world. With technology and cost no longer a limiting factor, advancing clean energy as a faster, cost-effective and healthier way to drive HDI and GDP improvements is a choice that every country—including those struggling to end energy poverty—has the power to make.