World Bank limits financial support to new coal-fired power plants

The World Bank Group affirmed in its Energy Sector Directions Paper released Tuesday that it would limit financing to new coal-fired power projects. The paper also focused on increasing the availability of electricity while also pushing the growth of renewable energy sources.

According to the paper, the World Bank will only finance coal-power generation projects in rare circumstances, such as “meeting basic energy needs in countries with no feasible alternatives.” The paper also states the bank will increase its work helping countries develop national and regional markets for natural gas, noting that gas has the lowest carbon intensity among fossil fuels, and increase its support for hydropower projects.

According to the bank, the Energy Sector Directions Paper is “closely aligned” with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative’s goals for 2030, which include providing universal access to modern energy, doubling the global rate of energy efficiency improvement and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The bank stated that nearly 20 percent of the current global population, or 1.2 billion people, live without access to electricity and 40 percent of the population rely on solid fuels such as wood, charcoal, dung or coal for cooking and heating.

“We need affordable energy to help end poverty and to build shared prosperity,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim stated in a release. “We will also scale up efforts to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy – according to countries’ needs and opportunities.”

The paper was discussed by the Bank Group’s Executive Board Tuesday and, with the board’s support, be used to guide the bank’s operations in the future.

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