Critical theme: How can inclusive finance accelerate universal energy access?

Critical theme

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 7 – universal energy access – by 2030, the enormous public and private energy financing gap must be bridged. On 14 November 2019, IIED hosted a critical theme to debate the role that investors and finance intermediaries could play to reach SDG7.

A large solar panel with Nepalese mountains in the background.

Solar panels in Ghondruk, Nepal (Photo: Rob Goodier/Engineering for Change, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Globally, nearly one billion people lack access to electricity and almost three billion live without access to clean cooking facilities.

The technology needed to bring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to everyone already exists, but investors aren’t providing the kind of capital needed to nurture energy companies in a sector that is still experimenting with business and delivery models.

Current public and private investment flows aren’t sufficient to reach everyone, despite the rapid growth in the off-grid sector in the past decade.

With only ten years left to achieve SDG7, how can we accelerate financing into the sector? What is the role of public financing in various contexts? How can domestic and early-stage companies be nurtured beyond financing? And what practical ways can impact be measured to target those who cannot be reached through business as usual?

IIED's latest critical theme brought a panel of scholars, practitioners and investors together to discuss these issues.

About the panellists:

About the critical theme series

IIED’s critical theme events create a space for conversation and debate on key and current sustainable development issues. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED aims to share information, inform audiences and facilitate discussions on the imaginative solutions needed to solve global challenges.

The seminars cover a wide range of speakers and topics. Previous events looked at 'Links between climate change and food security', 'The polluter elite, inequality and the ecological crisis' and, most recently, ‘Can China help build a global eco-civilisation?’