Press Releases

WBG Announces Targets, Calls for Partnerships on Renewable Energy

In Bonn
Georg Schmidt
Cell:  (202) 294-4854

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


In Washington

Corrie Shanahan

Phone: (202) 473-2258

Cell:     (202) 294-4697

Fax:     (202) 974-4384


Ludwina Joseph

Phone: (202) 473-7700

Cell:     (202) 294-4699

Fax:     (202) 974-4384


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 or associations.

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 energy solutions.”

More information, including a new brochure on the role of the WBG in renewable energy and energy efficiency, can be found at: