Sustainable Finance News: The time to invest in energy access is now

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Sustainable Finance News

25 September 2018

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Sustainable Finance Leadership Series

The Sustainable Finance Leadership series presents the views of key figures in the world of finance, climate change and sustainable development. This is the third in the series – the first by Jeremy Grantham on “The mythical peril of divesting from fossil fuels” and the second by Frank Elderson on putting sustainable prosperity on the agenda of the Dutch Central Bank can be read here.

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The time to invest in energy access is now

By Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All

Delays in closing the energy access gap are holding people back and leading to a failure to exploit the revolution in renewables, which can provide affordable, distributed solutions to complement smart grids. Rachel Kyte explains why this is such an expensive mistake and recommends three immediate actions to accelerate universal access.

At the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a simply stated goal: that there should be universal access to sustainable energy by 2030. Given the importance of energy for the services that people need and demand – health, education, water supply, food security – it seems remarkable that today just under 1 billion people have no access to energy , and just under 3 billion no access to clean cooking.

A revolution in technology and business models

Happily, this elevation of the importance of energy access within the SDGs comes at a remarkable moment in energy history: the costs of renewable energy, solar photovoltaic and wind in particular, have plummeted and energy storage costs are on the same steep decline. These technologies can be deployed in decentralised approaches, complementing grid-connected energy in cities and towns and placing energy within the reach of those living in rural areas and in remote communities.

This revolution also extends to business models. Countless variations are emerging that capitalise on cell phone technologies, mobile banking and remote censors, bundling energy with other services. These make energy affordable in small amounts and enable those on low incomes to make smart purchases.

– Read the rest of this article on the Grantham Research Institute website 
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Latest insights
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We have recently published the following papers capturing different dimensions of finance, climate change and environment related challenges.

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Making finance climate-consistent

Nick Robins outlines how the UK could put in place a policy framework for climate-consistent finance as is required under Article 2.1.c of the Paris Agreement, and, in the process, show international leadership.


Nick Robins, Professor in Practice – Sustainable Finance at the Grantham Research Institute (LSE).

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For all of the Grantham Research Institute’s work on finance, investment and insurance, please click here

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