The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Jordi Jaria i Manzano, Nathalie Chalifour and Louis J. Kotzé
Chapter 6: Scaling up local solutions: creating an enabling legal environment for the deployment of community-based renewable microgrids
In 2013 the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that there were over 1.3 billion people without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people without clean cooking facilities. More than 95 per cent of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia and 84 per cent in rural areas. In 2012, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ (‘SE4All’) initiative with the aim to achieve three goals by 2030: (1) provide universal access to modern energy services; (2) double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; (3) double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Community-based renewable energy microgrids provide a technical solution to advance the SE4All goals. Although they currently require high levels of public subsidization, they have the potential to attract investment from a variety of stakeholders (from the local to global) if supported with the right policies and regulations. Legal frameworks in many Sub-Saharan and South Eastern Asia countries aren’t conducive to the deployment of small-scale electricity infrastructure but there are some front-runners. Tanzania and Nepal are two examples of state strategic energy policies and light-handed regulatory solutions that could be replicated in other countries to translate the Ban Ki-moon Agenda into reality.
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