UN Announces $400Bn Expenditure To Boost Access To Electricity

Yemisi Izuora

The United Nations, UN, energy summit during the Climate Week has announced a commitment of US$400 billion in new finance and investment to increase renewables and access to electricity and clean cooking techniques globally.

Climate Week, September 20-26, is hosted by the Climate Group in conjunction with the UN, and in partnership with UNFCCC COP 26 and the City of New York.

At the first leader-level meeting on energy under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in 40 years, more than US$400 billion in new finance and investment was committed by governments and the private sector.

As world leaders struggle to meet the demands of the Paris Climate Accord and also supply electricity to their people, there now exists what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “a double imperative to end energy poverty and to limit climate change.”

Aimed at supplying power to the 780 million people now living in energy poverty, this effort also aims to set the world on a path towards net-zero emissions by 2050.

Over 35 countries, ranging from major emerging and industrialized economies to Small Island Developing States, made new energy commitments in the form of Energy Compacts.

New partnership initiatives were announced to provide and improve access to reliable electricity for more than a billion people.

The new commitments are expected to result in large increases in the installed capacity of renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency around the world, leading to hundreds of new renewable energy facilities and the creation of millions of new green jobs.

“The commitments coming through this process led by UN-Energy are a real signal of what is possible,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “I am pleased to see several of the major emitters – countries and sectors – demonstrating leadership through the High-Level Dialogue process along with bold commitments to act.”

“Access to clean, renewable energy is, quite simply, the difference between life and death,” Guterres said. “We must solve these challenges this decade. And we must start today.”

Without deep and rapid decarbonization of our energy systems over the next 10 years, we will not reach the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. This will be fatal to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“So we have a double imperative,” the secretary-general stressed. “To end energy poverty and to limit climate change. And we have an answer that will fulfil both imperatives. Affordable, renewable and sustainable energy for all.”

Guterres called for closing the energy access gap by 2030. “That means cutting in half the number of people without access to electricity by reaching 500 million people by 2025. And it means providing over one billion people with access to clean cooking solutions by 2025,” he insisted.

The UN estimates the cost of closing the energy access gap at about $35 billion a year for electricity access and $25 billion a year for clean cooking.

The annual investment in clean energy and energy efficiency required to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is estimated to be $4.4 trillion.

Energy Compacts submitted for the High-level Dialogue include:

Governments and Partners in which Nigeria committed to electrify 25 million people across five million homes by 2023 using solar technologies and creating 250,000 jobs, and also to giving 30 million homes access to clean cooking, as well as energizing agriculture, textile production, and cold storage using gas as a transition fuel.

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