Bonn, Germany, June 2, 2004—The World
Bank Group (WBG) announced today that it will commit to an average growth
rate of 20 percent per year over the next five years in its annual financial
commitments for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The target growth rate will be formally announced Thursday during the plenary
session of the International Conference on Renewable Energies “to
ensure an institutional focus on the fostering of the transition toward
cleaner energy sources,” said Peter Woicke, managing director of
the World Bank Group and executive vice president of the International
Finance Corporation, the WBG private sector lending arm. Woicke noted that
achieving the growth rate would require approval of the Bank Group’s
Board of Directors.
Woicke said that the increased lending would effectively double the Bank
Group’s current pace of roughly US$200 million per year by 2010.
“Our strategy – through programs and policies – will aim to ensure
that renewable energy and energy efficiency are seen as economically viable
and essential ingredients in the energy choices of our member nations,
not marginal considerations,” Woicke said.
Since 1990, the World Bank Group has been the largest lender for energy
efficiency and renewable energy projects in the developing nations, investing
more than $6 billion in Bank-managed resources and mobilizing more than
$10 billion from other public and private sources.
Woicke said the Bank Group will be prepared to accelerate and enlarge its
role by participating in or convening a steering group of nations, institutions,
civil society, and businesses in the coming months to develop an action
agenda on renewable energy and energy efficiency development.
“We are convinced more than ever that the transition to a cleaner energy
future will be won project by project, village by village, and nation by
nation,” Woicke said. “We believe it will require a marketplace
of partnerships – public and private, national and local, corporations
and civil society – that is organized around a few key principles.”
“Rich nations – however well-intentioned – cannot prescribe difficult,
sweeping changes in technology for poor nations while remaining idle, silent,
or reluctant on the issue of their own energy efficiency,” Woicke
said. “Poor nations, for their part, cannot expect power investments
that are clean and safe for the environment without improving their governance,
investment climates, and commitments to sustainable pricing. Environmental
advocates who favor new, expensive technology cannot ignore the millions
of people who are consigned to clear-cutting forests for lack of low-cost
energy options. These are shared responsibilities, shared challenges.”
The principles Woicke outlined were:
a transition from donor-driven subsidy schemes
to market-based solutions;
the development of policies and regulations
that promote renewable energies and energy efficiency;
openness toward the adoption of new technologies,
new partners, and new business models;
elimination of market distortions that keep
nations tied to inefficient, financially unsustainable, or environmentally
damaging energy regimes; and,
the growth of carbon markets in order to
mitigate climate change, accelerate the evolution toward shadow-pricing,
and speed the clean energy transformation.
To encourage greater collaboration across institutional and sectoral lines,
Woicke will also pledge that the Bank Group will report on its renewable
energy and energy efficiency operations with sector-specific information
and in comparison to the energy investment activities of other institutions
He also said the Bank Group would increase staff capacity, resources, and
the performance incentives for renewable programs so that the institution
“can more effectively help our country and sector teams succeed
in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, as well as more rapidly
transfer best practice across sectors and regions.”
“We must remember the difficulties faced by the 1.6 billion people worldwide
who do not have access to modern lighting and power,” said Woicke.
“They deserve more than conventional wisdom and more than conventional
energy solutions, the solutions that will worsen our global, national,
and local challenges. They deserve the best energy solutions, the cleaner
More information, including a new brochure on the role of the WBG in renewable
energy and energy efficiency, can be found at: www.worldbank.org/energy.