EU lights up another sustainable energy initiative

Energy efficient light bulbs. A new initiative called the Energizing Development Initiative was announced during the opening of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit on April 16. Photo by: Anton Fomkin / CC BY

The European Union will be working on another initiative that will address the developing world’s hunger for energy — the missingMillennium Development Goal.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the Energizing Development initiative following the opening of the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit Monday (April 16). The initiative is among the European Union’s key priorities under the Agenda for Change, which is part of the bloc’s 2011 development policy. It also supports U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

The commission will create a €50 million ($65 million) technical assistance facility as part of the initiative. The facility will help promote and develop the expertise of developing countries on sustainable energy, drawing on the skills of EU experts in the field.

In addition, the commission will help refine, expand and improve innovative financial instruments to support new investments in sustainable energy in developing countries. Among the proposed ways to do this is to engage the private sector and set up risk guarantee schemes.

Gudrun Kopp, parliamentary state secretary to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, or BMZ, also announced the agency will double its contribution to the energy sector by 2030.

The initiative aims to provide sustainable energy access to 500 million people in developing countries by 2013. The International Energy Agency estimates 1.3 billion people still lack electricity and that 40 percent of the world’s population relies on wood, coal, charcoal and animal waste to cook food, which can cause health problems such as lung disease or death.

Representatives from different countries and civil society organizations welcomed the initiative. However, several nongovernmental organizations said the European Union’s energy initiatives go against its activities in the developing world.

Blandine Bouniol, policy coordinator at Concord, said the Western bloc is “using” the developing world as an “energy extraction hub” for its biofuel demands, the Guardian reports.

Other EU energy initiatives include the ACP-EU Energy Facility and the Africa-EU Energy Partnership.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.