Quitzow, Rainer Thielges, Sonja Goldthau, Andreas Helgenberger, Sebastian Mbungu, Grace
Year of Publication:
Economics Discussion Papers 2019-37
International cooperation in support of a global energy transition is on the rise. Initiatives and venues for multilateral cooperation are complemented by growing bilateral engagement to foster international lesson-drawing and exchange. Official development assistance (ODA) in the energy sector is increasingly being directed to renewable energy sources. Despite these promising developments, it is widely acknowledged that investment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on clean and affordable energy is insufficient. A recent report by SE4ALL estimates annual investments in support of SDG7 at USD 30 billion. This is well below the USD 52 billion that would be needed (SE4ALL and Climate Policy Initiative, Energizing finance: Understanding the landscape 2018, 2018). Moreover, investment in clean energy remains heavily concentrated in a small number of frontrunner countries. In terms of technologies, investments in clean energy still overwhelmingly target grid-connected electricity generation. Despite their proven ability to provide rapid and affordable access to clean energy in many country contexts, off-grid technologies account for only 1.3 percent of investments (SE4ALL and Climate Policy Initiative, 2018). Worryingly, a significant share of international public sector financing, most notably by export-credit agencies, is still allocated to coal and other fossil-based technologies. Against this background, this paper makes three recommendations for strengthening international cooperation in support of a global energy transition: 1) Promote investment in clean energy and end support for coal-based energy infrastructure. 2) Tackle the socio-economic dimension of the global energy transition. 3) Provide early market support to promote challenge-based energy innovation.
public policy climate energy innovation development international political economy