Bonn climate talks: New funding mechanism proposed at side event to tackle energy poverty

CSE and What Next Forum say Globally Funded Feed-in Tariff Mechanism (G-FiT) for enabling renewable energy has the potential to provide energy access to all as well as mitigate climate change impacts

By Nayanjyoti Goswami
Published: Wednesday 18 June 2014

Deputy director general of CSE, Chandra Bhushan, said renewable energy access through decentralised, distributed generation requires massive investment which requires global support and that the idea of G-FiT from GCF provides that support (CSE photo)

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and What Next Forum successfully conducted a side event on “Enabling Renewable Energy for Energy Access through Globally Funded Feed-in Tariff Mechanism” last Friday at Bonn, Germany, under the umbrella of UNFCCC.

As the subject indicates, enabling renewable energy for energy access through a globally supported financial mechanism is a bold and visionary idea which has the potential to simultaneously provide energy access to millions of people, enabling developing countries to invest in renewable energy and avoid future emissions from dirty and costly fossil fuels.

With a focus on decentralised, community-oriented renewable energy, a new energy model can be promoted that addresses the needs of both people and the planet. This transformative solution can also help break the current impasse in the climate negotiations by offering genuine scope for cooperation between countries North and South.

Niclas  Halstromg of What Next Forum provided an overview of the idea of the globally funded feed-in-tariff (G-FiT) for enabling renewable energy for energy access. According to him, G-FiT can be looked at as a 15-year public investment programme—a  “global Marshall plan”—to tackle both climate and development and help take us over the threshold to a liveable future. The upfront public investment will bring down the cost of renewable technologies which will make renewable energy-based decentralised distributed generation system a default choice for energy access.

'G-FiT complements GCF'

Brandon Yu of ActionAid, USA, who tracks Green Climate Fund (GCF)  very closely emphasises that GCF and G-FiT can be complementary to each other. Elaborating further, he said that the idea of GCF is to move away from project-based funding and in that context, the concept of G-FiT is a good proposition. If GCF focuses on decentralised approach to reach the poorest of the poor, G-FiT can be an excellent vehicle to reach the objective with definitive time frame and had huge potential. The idea of GCF funding G-Fit has large co-benefits too in terms of developing strong North - South and South – South cooperation.

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE, elaborated how the idea of G-FiT makes a complete business sense drawing examples from India. He endorsed the fact that enabling renewable energy for energy access through decentralised, distributed generation requires massive investment which requires global support – the idea of G-FiT from GCF provides that support.

Drawing reference from India, Bhushan further emphasised that renewable energy-based decentralised system must be capable of providing power on demand – at least 1 kWh per person per day. Working on a model for India, he illustrated that India would need USD 259 billion over 29 years in the form of G-FiT to provide at least 1 kWh electricity per day to 700 million energy poor and resolve energy access issues by 2022. This will also save 5 billion tonnes of CO2 over the same period (29 years).

Sushel Kumar from India's Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change had a different perspective. He stated that money required to mainstream renewable energy is not a major issue, but changing the mindset is a bigger hurdle to tackle.

Seyni Nafo, the lead negotiator from the Africa group, said that there is space for raising pre-2020 ambitions and the idea of G-FiT is a bold idea. There are currently 20 African countries working on FiT to promote renewable energy, but supporting them through G-FiT will boost the entire energy access issues significantly. Though the group has not advocated G-FiT so far, asking for a space for negotiation in the upcoming ADP session in October will be a good idea, according to him.  

Also see: Note on globally funded feed-in-tariff (pdf)


Report: Solving India’s renewable energy financing challenge: which federal policies can be most effective?

Report: REmap 2030: a renewable energy roadmap

Report: The energy report - India: 100% renewable energy by 2050

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