The World Bank Group’s report “Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All: Directions for the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector” was released on July 16, and lays out principles-based plans for the World Bank’s work in the energy sector. The report puts a special focus on expanding energy access and sustainable energy.
The report, also known as the Energy Sector Directions Paper, focuses on the poor in terms of their energy access, stating that “supporting universal access to reliable modern energy is a priority.” The report points out the connection between poverty and lack of energy access asserting that “economic growth, which is essential for poverty reduction, is not possible without adequate energy.”
The Energy Sector Directions Paper also emphasizes supporting renewable energy. Declining costs of renewable energies like wind and solar power are increasing their usefulness, and hydropower in particular is one of the largest untapped sources of renewable energy in the developing world. The energy sector directions paper underscored the importance of these renewable energies for sustainability and also in order to increase energy access while trying to reduce climate change. The World Bank Group asserted that they would support and invest in coal power development “only in rare circumstances.”
1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, which causes harmful indoor air pollution. These people are mainly in either developing Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, and in rural areas. In order to foster sustainable development in these countries, plans like the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Directions Paper need to be enacted to give the poor access to renewable energy sources.
– Martin Drake