Report: Triple investment in clean energy to $1.2 trillion

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A new report calls for investment in clean energy to be tripled to $1.2 trillion annually through 2030 to give more than one billion people worldwide access to electricity and help prevent global warming.

Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency said Wednesday "it's absolutely feasible" that the goal can be achieved, pointing to major advances in using solar power and other renewables to power national grids, villages and homes especially in the developing world.

The report produced by the World Bank and some 20 other organizations and agencies tracks progress on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. The campaign calls for achieving three targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

According to the report, which was released Monday, annual global investments in energy will need to scale up from roughly $400 billion to meet the three targets. Of the $1.2 billion required, it said, between $40 billion and $100 billion annually is needed to achieve universal access to electricity.

By contrast, the report said, universal access to modern cooking fuels to replace wood, charcoal and dung which cause serious pollution and respiratory problems requires just $4.3 billion a year.

"This is not about charity," Kandeh Yumkella, the U.N. special representative for Sustainable Energy for All and CEO of the initiative, said Wednesday. "This is about markets and investments. We see this as a trillion-dollar opportunity, not a trillion-dollar challenge."

The initiative is rallying governments, international institutions, businesses, banks and civil society groups to help meet the 2030 targets.

"Governments do not have that kind of resource," Yumkella said. "Only public-private partnerships will generate this kind of resource flow."

Amin cited the case of Bangladesh where today about six million homes are receiving light and electricity through solar power. "They're installing close to 60,000 home units every month - this is massive growth," he said.

At a three-day forum that runs through Thursday attended by some 40 ministers and leading figures from business and international organizations, a number of commitments were made including by the European Union which said it will provide grants of over $3.5 billion for sustainable energy investments from 2014-2020.

China said it would meet its target of providing all people with electricity by 2015 and said the country will increase the non-fossil fuel share of its energy consumption from about 11 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2020 and 20 percent by 2030.

Grammy-nominated singer Akon, who started an initiative called "Akon Lighting Africa" two years ago, told a press conference Wednesday that he sees energy as "a key of Africa's development."

The singer, who was born in the U.S. of Senegalese parents and was reared in both countries, said he set a goal of bringing solar-powered electricity to 1 million homes in Africa by the end of 2014 and not only achieved that but is now operating in 14 countries.

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