Increased lending for energy efficiency investments pressed

by Myrna Velasco – December 8, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

Paris, France – Banks and other institutional investors are called upon to substantially increase lending portfolio for energy efficiency ventures as one of the core measures to keep global temperature rise within the two degrees Celsius goal.

In an Energy Day convened by the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) Climate Conference here, it was emphasized that while “action is coalescing on several fronts to bridge investment gap”, much more must be done to push forward energy efficiency as well as the other interlinked targets in pursuing transformational change in energy systems – including those on energy access and renewable energy.

SE4All, a multi-stakeholder partnership backed by the United Nations and the World Bank, has asserted “a step-change in financing will be crucial” for these labeled sustainable energy undertakings.

It has estimated that investments in sustainable energy “will need to triple from current levels, to more than US$1.0-trillion a year from now to 2030,” to meet targets corresponding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

At least one major positive development toward that end had been the commitment of some 140 banks and institutional investors “to a major increase in energy efficiency lending and investment in their portfolios.”

According to Rachel Kyte, incoming chief executive officer of SE4All and special representative of the UN Secretary General, the initial developments including pledges from countries of both the developing and the developed world have just been “the tip of the iceberg”, while noting that “the potential is vast, but it won’t be realized without a massive scaling up of the kind of action to levels far beyond what we have seen so far.”

She added “in the next few years, we have a historic window of opportunity to shake up business-as-usual…but unless we grab that opportunity, the window will quickly close.”

In particular, energy efficiency ventures – also known as the ‘hidden fuel’, could potentially contribute “up to half the savings in greenhouse gas emissions needed to keep the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees.”

While scaling up on the energy efficiency movement, the access to electricity of some 1.1 billion people in the world has also been highlighted and prodded for intensified investment support.

These two measures alongside the need to explore cleaner ways of producing energy have been given weight, as SE4All indicated that the energy sector is “responsible for 60-percent of current greenhouse gas emissions – and more efficient ways to distribute and use it, is central to the fight against climate change.”