Energy Efficiency Measures Can Amplify the Impact of Universal Energy Access Projects

More Light with Less Energy: How Energy Efficiency Can Fast-Track Energy Access Goals

The World Bank, July 30, 2015. Image credit: Valger

A new report entitled “EA + EE: Enhancing the World Bank’s Energy Access Investments Through Energy Efficiency,” identifies this nexus between energy efficiency and energy access. The report, which examined eight recent World Bank energy access projects, also recommends ways in which energy efficiency measures can amplify the impact of future projects that aim to achieve universal energy access.

Currently, about 1.1 billion people globally don’t have access to electricity. That puts them at a significant economic and social disadvantage. Lack of electricity means children cannot study at home, productive hours for adults are cut short and women and children often cannot go out independently at night where there are no street lights.

Technology like solar home systems, small wind turbine systems and renewable mini- and micro-grids can help change that. On the supply side, greater energy efficiency means there is more electricity to deliver to a larger number of households and businesses.

The report recommends ways for the World Bank to maximize the impact of future energy access projects. Those include making energy efficiency a cornerstone of projects, communicating the benefits of the nexus between energy efficiency and energy access and setting tangible project indicators and targets and developing tools to help countries procure more energy efficient products.

The report also recommends rethinking subsidized energy tariffs, educating consumers on energy efficient behavior and prioritizing markets where market structure does not currently exist to take advantage of energy efficiency as part of energy access work.

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