Infrastructure

Background

Energy sector trends

What is the future for fossil fuels (king coal, queen gas), big dams, versus appropriate-scale renewables?

9 April 2014

Sponsors:

Bretton Woods Project, Mott Foundation, Heinrich Boell Foundation-North America, Latindadd, Pacific Environment, International Rivers, Eurodad, Center of Concern, and Third World Network.

Panelists:

Peter Bosshard (International Rivers), Elizabeth Bast (Oil Change International), Srinivas Krishnaswamy (Chief Executive Officer, Vasudha Foundation), Vijay Iyer (Director of Sustainable Energy Department, WBG), CHAIR: Lisa Friedman (Deputy Editor, ClimateWire)

Bast

  • Fossil fuel finance trends at IFIs
  • IFIS continue to fund fossil fuel projects, including exploration of new sources, at the same time at climate science says we need to keep them under ground
  • Energy access crucial
  • MDB finance for fossil fuels, large amount of portfolio going to fossil fuels but shifting a bit, percentages going down somewhat – encouraging trend, but still a lot of funding
  • Limits on coal financing WB, EBRD, EIB – great step forward and interesting step forward
  • Opens up coal limits language, not definitive, wriggle room, certain kinds can be financed, also question on FIs, and also financing from other countries
  • Interest in financing natural gas, more international gas financing, eg WB, EBRD, ADB, AfDB
  • Bilateral movement, US government on natural gas
  • Huge upswing in natural gas development and reserves – natural gas can be worse than coal, also according to IEA
  • Climate change and unburnable carbon, growing consensus impacting that we need to hold at least below 2 degrees – agreed target, WB has been vocal on this too
  • In terms of fossil fuels, 2/3 of reserves would be unburnable and in the ground
  • 129 billion on exploration last year
  • Carbon bubble, reserves overvalued at this moment – is this financially valuable to develop
  • IFIs incremental finance are making projects that are financially risky in the long term – can play a role in not financing these projects
  • Don’t want to lock developing countries into these kind of policies
  • Financing for exploration projects at IFIs, FY13 increase, WBG one of the largest financing this, large proportion from IFC
  • Will this change with the new policies
  • Exploration policies with coal limits, not as innovative on oil and gas
  • WB energy directions paper mentions this, but doesn’t exclude extraction
  • Similar in EBRD and EIB, ADB, AfDB
  • Policies doesn’t say the exploration is going to stop
  • Alternatives, clean renewables and energy efficiency – energy directions paper talks about the need to move in this direction
  • Keep in mind impact on different types of renewable energy, eg large scale hydro
  • Some increase in renewable and energy efficiency, low impact vs. low fossil fuel – need to think about additional impacts
  • Energy access increase, most are familiar with 1.2 billion without energy access, 85% in rural areas
  • 30% of rural populations will access through connections to the grid, important for scale
  • Energy access for poor financing, WBG 8%, lower than ADB, AfDB, IDB
  • Increased focus on energy access in directions paper
  • ADB also clear goals, AfDB, IDB additional resources to access
  • Stop MDB finance for fossil fuel exploration
  • Shift portfolios towards energy access for the poor

Bosshard

  • WB’s approach to hydropower
  • For many decades WB was world’s most important financier of hydropower projects
  • Engaging again in transformational mega projects, such as Inga 3 dam
  • Shift in resources from coal to large hydro power
  • Concerns about social and environmental impacts, also on benefits being over estimated, and distribution
  • Not opposed to dam building in principle, if the balance is right
  • But low impact options are available
  • Reference projects, incl Inga 3
  • Costs: similar costs per kW – but a bit misleading, construction costs vastly different, solar and wind within 2-3 years
  • Inga 3 in 2024 – cost of solar will have dropped
  • Recent Oxford study on large dams, cost overruns 96%, time overruns 44% then Inga 3 completed by 2027
  • Inga 1 and 2 even worse
  • Who benefits with these risks, Inga 3 electricity mainly exported and used by mining sector, national utility 1000 MW, no mechanism to share the revenues
  • Lake Turkana wind and Chile solar, feeding the grid
  • Social and environmental impacts: total WB dams have displaced more than 10 million people
  • Inga 3 requiring 190 km2 for transmission corridor and reservoir
  • Turkana wind, no compensation for land leased, displacement for transmission line
  • Ownership, capacity building, governance
  • Inga 3 ring fenced international enclave, imported equipment, risk of resource curve
  • Sri Lanka RERED, owned by community, exporting expertise to Africa – institutional ecosystem for renewable energy in Sri Lanka
  • Climate mitigation and resilience
  • Inga 3 potential for carbon sink to be impacted
  • We have compared apples and pears, but you have to do this as a financier
  • Wind and solar projects are reaching grid parity
  • Cant build a grid on this alone, grid dependent on hydropower already in Africa, but potential for wind and solar
  • Off grid renewables, REDRED programme strong track record in Sri Lanka, also Nepal, Bangladesh etc
  • Why are there so few projects like this in the WB pipeline
  • Inga 3 attractive at first sight, but limited benefits for the poor – smaller hydro projects might make more sense
  • But technology the highest risk, geology, social env risks, corruption
  • Transformational mega projects back in the pipeline, basic needs to energy access should be first priority
  • 50% of WB programmes should be for energy access
  • Expand grid based energy capacity, renewable energy projects

Krishnaswamy

  • Solutions: five key recommendations
  • WB has a role to play in energy policy paradigm
  • Dominant focus on large plants, gigawatt size
  • Need to be adequate importance to small plants
  • WB is trying to allocate funds for decentralised energy, some have taken off, but need to go beyond just a few projects
  • Few scalable business models for renewable energy – WB need to look at scalable business models
  • Energy infrastructure, for India eg, systemic huge transmission losses
  • How does one do it – one key thing, right now any energy policy planning as a separate compartment – no holistic planning
  • When you look at development, need to integrate energy into development policies
  • Then come up with policies that address energy access, as a driver for development
  • In India, fast developing economy, but a very large LDC, rich but also home to many poor people
  • Development paradigm with clean energy access integrated into this, including gender sensitiveness
  • Guiding principles on compartmentalising issues, eg energy access, need more transparency, participation
  • Need to talk about energy as a whole – most focus on the light bulb, but this is not enough
  • India, is it heading in the right direction?
  • Coal fired power plants in the pipeline, process in India get TOR for power plant approved, 391 projects, 451,000 MW additional capacity
  • Reasoning low cost electricity from coal, studies exist that proves otherwise
  • Increase in use of imported coal, Indian coal poor quality and soon shortage of domestic coal, difficult to mine as in indigenous areas
  • Many plants looking at blending of domestic and imported coal
  • Renewables compete in terms of price
  • 2013 WB report on monetary loss due to environmental damages in India,  3.75 billion, 5.7 % of GDP – huge
  • Pollution, largely due to burning of fossil fuels
  • 109,000 premature deaths
  • concentration of coal fired power plants in India where there is very high level of unelectrified households
  • Coal India owns bulk of coal mines, estimated of reserves to 148 GW, already feeding close to 67GW, where is the coal going to come from
  • Renewable energy, wind and solar potentials – theoretically possible
  • King coal and energy access, is there a link? Recommendations to import coal to meet energy access, but no link between coal plants with energy access in India.

Iyer

  • energy access, means different things to different people
  • access to modern energy has been going up in the world, we are making steady progress in the last 20 years, but total gains have been modest due to population increase
  • most increase in urban areas, efforts just about to keep up with growth
  • but 1.2 billion people live without electricity and 2.8 billion cook with solid fuels
  • deficit concentrated in sub Saharan Africa
  • overwhelmingly rural, around 80% of total deficit
  • global population growth will take place almost entirely in urban areas
  • will need to address both backlog in rural areas, but also with urban areas
  • progress on last 20 years, only kept slightly ahead of huge growth in population and demand
  • lot of renewable energy growth but still standing still due to offset
  • access deficit concentration in countries with large population
  • disparity in energy demand, US next from China
  • access but also adequate quantity, difference OECD, LIC, MIC
  • Inequality aspect that needs to be considered
  • Reliability aspect access also important, different systems are different
  • Impact on economies
  • Poor pay a high price for power, which is true, also for solar panel
  • The overall drivers should be if we are providing reliable, accessible and affordable energy
  • Sources of providing the electricity, have to provide energy solutions in rural and urban areas – all options needed
  • Worked on both Sri Lanka and Inga 3 projects
  • Hydropower largest form of clean renewable power that can be developed, at WB we are focusing on making responsible hydro
  • If we rule out hydro, gas and fossil fuels  – does India have the land to put up all these solar panels needed
  • If not putting all on the table we are doing a disservice
  • Hydro and solar and wind comparison, cost of wind, remember that the cost – if you want to make it reliable you need to triple it
  • Have to keep this in mind when we talk about comparisons
  • Should be mindful about the correctness of what we are costing
  • On wind and solar, most of the capital funding is required up front
  • For gas and hydro, coal plant, you have to spend less amount to put up capacity, then pay for resource – many poor countries can’t afford
  • Need to put all the facts on the table
  • WB is working with clients to find ways to look at all the resources and options, integrated resource planning – trying to shift from dirty options, towards cleaner sustainable resources

Friedman

  • what do we mean by energy poverty, shouldn’t just be a couple of light bulbs, what does it mean?

Bosshard

  • no answer for the whole world, transitional solutions for more capacity
  • solar home systems available that provide more than light, also off grid systems – this is where we need to go

Bast

  • energy equality question, US consumption will need to come down
  • everyone has different measurements, helpful to use what the trends are
  • we talk about productive uses – we have a list of things we consider energy access

Krishnaswamy

  • one KW per family target for energy access, 70 odd KW per person per year
  • but to me it means taking care of lighting, heating cooking, space cooling, can it be used for small agri base units
  • not just domestic uses alone, increase livelihoods options for people and water and sanitation

Iyer

  • grey are, different perceptions and demand metrics depending on where we are starting from
  • unpacking metrics around access, what does it mean and how do we measure it – will come out with this, to share some light on this issue

Q: Mentioned cost of coal, did you look at centralised cost of coal, you talked about importing with India being hugely indebted. A lot to be gained from shifting to more efficient appliances.

Q: Interesting to hear from WB perspective, hear from other panellists not accounting for other costs, but climate is the elephant in all of this. To keep these options on the table, we know we do harm in damaging the climate – we know what will happen if we keen the money in dirty energy. Hypocrisy from WB

Iyer

  • global energy demand, G20 high income countries 36%, G20 middle income 38%, etc, low income only 3%
  • climate change will only move when these countries move
  • Kosovo, in energy directions paper, have very limited resources, have studied all the options – have to be a coal based solution as part of the mix
  • If we do the plant that the WB is proposing to support will close down another plant – there are trade offs with coal and gas
  • Where are the fossil fuels being produced now, where are they being consumed – what is the real picture and where the action will take place
  • Appliances, very good point, push under SE4ALL to look at this

Q: transformative projects, to what extent when crafting agreements with borrowers, do you include provisions to not sell to extractives, etc

Q: Inga 3 a lot of money, won’t be ready til 2024, wouldn’t other solutions provide more energy more immediately, and renewable and energy efficiency to also add to climate goals

Q: WB on unburnable carbon

Q: Nigeria NGO, on exploration, concerned about the gender question on rural energy, women and children are most affected but excluded, what is WB doing about this.

Iyer

  • done a lot of work on gender and energy, on interventions and impact, growing area we are focusing on
  • on exploration, only a small proportion, 4bn in developing countries, most in other settings
  • WB support from IFC some limited investments in developing countries, from WB side mostly TA to ensure set up in responsible way, incl ETI
  • Some is exported, country benefits from revenues, but some to meet the needs of the country
  • Inga 3, agree we need to invest in other solutions in parallel, not either or, need to do more of these to meet the huge energy challenge

 

More background on this issue

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Background

26 August 2015 | Issue overview

Issue overview: World Bank and energy

IFI governance

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17 April 2015 | Minutes

What are the trends in the energy sector?

Notes from a meeting on energy during the World Bank spring meetings.

Environment

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9 April 2014

Energy sector trends

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19 April 2013 | Minutes

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3 November 2012 | Review

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18 April 2007 | Minutes

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22 April 2005 | Minutes

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