Most energy investment still goes to the centralised grid and to power generation, yet 87% of energy poor people live in rural areas, far from the grid. To connect them, targeted investments in grid extension are needed, along with much greater investment in distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions for electricity as well as clean cooking. Current levels of investment are wholly inadequate to meet the need – particularly from governments and multilateral banks.
According to Sustainable Energy for All, current finance committed to deliver energy access globally is substantially lower than is needed and only 1% of access finance committed went to DRE. For communities near the grid, adding more power will not connect them unless political, technical and cost barriers are overcome. This includes more investment in making new connections affordable, and more research on what blends of public and private financing can deliver access to different groups, including financing approaches for delivering energy to the poorest communities where market-based approaches may not work.