Commissioner Piebalgs met the Scientific Advisory Board on EU Development Policy to discuss 'Sustainable Energy for All'
Brussels, 31 May 2012. Today, European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attended a thematic seminar organised with the recently established Scientific Advisory Board on EU Development Policy and invited experts. They discussed how to reach the goal of universal access to modern energy services whilst aiming to make the energy mix as economically, socially and environmentally sustainable as possible. They also addressed the issue of how to optimize the large potential of renewable energy resources in many developing countries.
The European Commission wants to provide support to developing countries that commit to the UN Secretary General's 'Sustainable Energy for All' (SE4 All) initiative. This is a key objective of the EU's new Energising Development Initiative announced by European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, at the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit on 16th April 2012. The aim is to provide access to sustainable energy services to an additional 500 million people by 2030.
Africa is the most affected part of the world in terms of inadequate access to modern energy services: in this continent about 590 million people have no access to electricity and 660 million people still cook with traditional biomass. A "business as usual" scenario, combined with the expected population growth would leave about 650 million people without electricity and about 910 million without clean cooking facilities by 2030. It is therefore clear that the efforts of the Energising Development Initiative should concentrate on Africa and, in particular, on Sub Saharan Africa.
The Scientific Advisory Board held this energy seminar to identify the EU's role and supportive policies promoting the factors vital for success: strong governance and regulatory frameworks that seek to minimise political and economic risks and encourage investments from the private sector, as well as strengthened capacity of national and local institutions. A range of potential strategic policy options in the short, medium and long term were explored to succeed with the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ agenda. Discussions highlighted some of the key opportunities, risks, and challenges of various strategies to implement the Commission's new Energising Development Initiative and effectively provide access to sustainable energy services to an additional 500 million people by 2030.
Issues discussed included:
- methods for integrating access with productive uses of energy so as to increase sustainability and improve development
- institutional frameworks needed to set up/manage/regulate energy services in rural areas
- the types of business models to accelerate access to modern cooking fuels and techniques, decentralised (mini-grid and standalone systems) vs. centralised systems
- approaches to significantly engage the private sector
- the roles of civil society and non-governmental actors in energy access market development
- how to adapt existing renewable energy technologies and promote research and innovation, enhancing engagement with emerging partner countries as major players in the energy sector in Africa.
The Scientific Advisory Board on EU Development Policy was established by Commissioner Piebalgs last February to advise him on development policy issues. The Board will help identify evidence-based policy options that link research and concrete policy formulation and implementation in an effective way.
For more information
Press release IP 12/136 on the launch of the Scientific Advisory Board