UN Regional Commissions Report Makes Recommendations on PPPs to Address Energy Access and Energy Poverty

UNESCAPOctober 2013: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) has published a global assessment report on behalf of the five UN Regional Commissions, titled 'Partnerships for Universal Access to Modern Energy Services,' which explores public-private partnerships (PPPs) as investment catalysts for achieving the goals of the UN Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.

The report focuses on the level of global investment needed to achieve SE4ALL's goal of universal energy access by 2030, which it says will require approximately US$48 billion annually, an increase of fivefold compared to business as usual. The report demonstrates, through an analysis of over one dozen case studies, that successful PPPs and 5Ps (pro-poor PPPs) “can quickly and effectively accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies and improve incomes and standards of living, in the areas of the world that most urgently need them.”

The report finds that hallmarks of successful partnerships include that they: actively promote community participation and ownership; combine energy services with income generation and employment while distributing responsibilities among partners; choose appropriate technologies for the scale, quality and level of demand and need; do not over-subsidize or give away technologies; do not take consumer awareness for granted but rather direct resources at knowledge dissemination, marketing and promotion; and emphasize service and maintenance to ensure proper care post-sale.

The report concludes by stating that “Investments in renewable energy bring benefits that far exceed their costs,” and outlining recommendations for promoting renewable energy PPPs, including: establishing national energy development plans with targets and clearly identified PPPs to stimulate investment; providing cost recovery guarantees on investments; promoting the use of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to reduce investment uncertainty; creating policy provisions for shared funding of research and development of emerging technologies; optimizing options for financing renewable energy projects; setting long-term goals; and maintaining strong partnerships between the public and private sectors through effective communication, and well-defined roles and responsibilities.

The five UN Regional Commissions are UNESCAP, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). [Publication: Partnerships for Universal Access to Modern Energy Services]