January 4

Press Release: DFC and Rockefeller Foundation Sign MOU to Invest in Solutions to End Energy Poverty

The Rockefeller Foundation and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work to end energy poverty by promoting investment in Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) around the world. The MOU will focus on delivering reliable, sustainable electricity to the 800 million people worldwide who currently lack electricity, and 2.8 billion more who have unreliable access, to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and foster long-term economic growth.

The partnership will be built around three pillars:

  • Financing: DFC will invest up to $2 billion in distributed renewable energy and The Rockefeller Foundation will provide up to $50 million to de-risk DFC investments.
  • Global Platform: DFC and The Rockefeller Foundation will develop a multi-partner global platform to mobilize additional investment by promoting co-financing, grant making, transaction pipeline development, advocacy and technical assistance to expand investments in distributed renewable energy in underserved markets.
  • Green Energy: DFC and The Rockefeller Foundation will work together to communicate the role that green energy infrastructure and distributed renewable energy can play in powering an inclusive recovery for the more than one billion people worldwide who lack access to reliable electricity.

“The pandemic has undermined decades of progress on poverty reduction,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Global cooperation and investment are desperately needed to address this crisis and ensure a broad and inclusive economic recovery. Our collaboration with DFC will be key to unlocking significant investment in distributed energy and will build on the Foundation’s work to expand access to reliable, sustainable electricity that can power the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.”

“Our collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation fills a critical gap that exists for the private sector to finance renewable energy projects, a problem that has been exacerbated by the global pandemic,” said DFC CEO Adam Boehler. “By using blended finance, this MOU advances DFC’s work to sustainably expand energy access while continuing to respond to the pandemic by focusing on communities that have been traditionally been hardest to reach. Our partnership will empower billions of dollars of renewable energy projects across the developing world.”

“We applaud the partnership between DFC and Rockefeller focusing on distributed renewables,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica. “DRE is often the fastest and most affordable way for many communities to achieve access to clean and sustainable energy. This partnership unlocks the potential for DFC to support community-owned distributive energy in countries most in need.”

Distributed renewable energy is focused on generating power from sources such as mini-grids and off-grid sources that are located near the point of use, rather than centralized generation sources like power plants. This approach helps address one of the key challenges in delivering power to remote communities that often cannot access power from large power plants. Recent technological advances have made DRE systems more affordable, effective, and easier to deploy, offering the potential to quickly provide electricity for homes, business, healthcare, agriculture and education.

The MOU seeks to achieve economies of scale by bringing together two major initiatives: The Rockefeller Foundation’s Powering an Inclusive Covid-19 Recovery and DFC’s Roadmap for Impact, the agency’s new strategy for maximizing its development impact.

As part of the signed MOU, The Rockefeller Foundation and DFC have committed to share their respective strengths, experiences and resources to promote the development of DRE infrastructure projects that quickly, sustainably and cost-effectively end energy poverty. The organizations will support an equitable global recovery that prioritizes economic growth, human development and environmental sustainability.

Photo courtesy of jplenio.

Source: U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (link opens in a new window)

Coronavirus, Energy
global development, renewable energy, scale