Can Social Protection Deliver Green Energy Access?

February 1, 2013

One of the few beliefs shared by climate advocates and
climate skeptics is the critical role that innovation
can play in supporting green growth. Brookings Blum
Roundtable participants discussed this role with particular
reference to the challenge of expanding energy access to the
world’s poorest people.
The scale of this challenge is daunting. A quarter of the
world’s population (1.5 billion people) lives without electricity,
and almost twice that number lack clean fuels for cooking.
The UN secretary general has set a goal of reaching universal
access to energy by 2030, alongside simultaneous goals to
double reliance on renewable energy sources from 15 to 30
percent and to double rates of energy efficiency so that global
energy consumption declines.
As is the case in other sectors, innovation in green growth
is typically associated with technological breakthroughs and
the development of new products. And over recent years, we
have seen unprecedented innovation in this field: see section
6. However, innovation is equally important in enabling these
products to be brought to scale, whether by identifying a viable
business model, forming supportive partnerships or establishing
policies and regulation that create the right incentives.