The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) have announced a new partnership that aims to deploy $150 million of RF’s catalytic capital in blended finance to mobilize up to $2 billion of private sector investment in distributed renewable energy solutions.
The partnership will prioritize countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and select other regions, where both organizations have identified immediate opportunities. Ultimately, the list of countries where this partnership will deploy will be broadened during implementation.
By blending philanthropic and private investment funding, the Rockefeller Foundation and IFC will de-risk capital investment in distributed renewable projects in emerging markets and help to address global energy access needs.
An initial “rapid deployment” phase will distribute $30 million in blended concessional finance and grant capital to leverage an active pipeline of distributed renewable energy projects developed by IFC. The funding will go toward IFC’s prototype scaling mini-grid program in addition to distributed renewable energy generation, battery energy storage, and other innovative clean energy technologies to facilitate access.
Several of these components are part of IFC’s Upstream practice, which aims to create markets in the most challenging environments and lays the foundation for future investment projects. The work includes technical assistance, targeted feasibility studies, and cost-sharing support to private sector clients and governments.
The Rockefeller Foundation President, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah said: “Investing in renewable energy infrastructure in communities that have not had access to reliable power will ensure that the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is both green and equitable. The landscape of energy technologies we are investing in will make it possible for every person on the planet to have totally reliable, productive electrification.“
Dr. Shah added: “The best partnerships are informed by a common goal and an experience of learning together so by combining the expertise and resources of The Rockefeller Foundation with the global footprint of the IFC, we are demonstrating the power of partnerships to deliver real impact.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted progress on achieving clean energy for all, with the number of those lacking electricity in Africa rising to more than 590 million people in 2020, an increase of 13 million people, or 2%, from last year, according to analysis in the World Energy Outlook 2020.
IFC Managing Director Makhtar Diop said, “The climate challenge at its core is an energy challenge. The twin goals of improving energy access and addressing climate change both require our urgent attention but can’t be achieved with public resources alone. The private sector can and must be part of the solution if the scale of our results is to meet the scale of our ambitions.”
Mr. Diop continued, “This partnership could not be better aligned with our business, our priorities, or our shared values as we work to build a sustainable recovery. In the months and years ahead, there is terrific opportunity to make positive change together and I am thrilled to be part of this inaugural step.”
IFC is the leading financier of low-cost renewable energy, having funded projects with a generation capacity of approximately 8 GW in hydropower, 6 GW in solar energy, and 5 GW in wind energy. Through its energy practice, IFC supports the growth of wind and solar energy, deployment of offshore wind, battery storage, distributed generation, electric vehicles, and green shipping in emerging markets, among other technologies.
This collaboration between the IFC, which is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, and The Rockefeller Foundation, a globally renowned philanthropic organization with a decade of expertise in the distributed renewable energy sector, is part of both organizations’ commitment to ending energy poverty and delivering reliable, sustainable power to millions across the world. Together, The Rockefeller Foundation and IFC will be able to mitigate risk and aim to invest towards high impact projects in challenging sectors and countries.