Rockefeller Foundation to connect 1 billion people to renewable energy

Leading philanthropic organisations, the Rockefeller Foundation and the IKEA Foundation have announced that they will join forces to set up a $1 billion global platform to fight climate change and energy poverty.

The platform – launching this year – aims to reduce 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and to empower 1 billion people with distributed renewable energy (DRE). The platform will be the single largest distributed renewable energy initiative to date.

Distributed renewable energy (DRE) is renewable energy generated from sources such as mini-grid and off-grid solutions, located near the point of use, rather than centralized sources like power plants.

The new global platform will oversee the organizations’ combined matching funds. It aims to deliver clean and reliable power to the 800 million people worldwide who lack electricity, and a further 2.8 billion who have unreliable access. It will be run as a public charity to manage a concerted effort to rapidly channel development funds to life-changing projects on the ground.

Project to help accelerate renewable electrification in developing economies

While funding to support energy transition has increased at a global level, many organizations struggle to identify viable, investment-ready projects. As a result, many emerging economies still depend on unreliable and polluting energy sources. By creating a platform to deploy catalytic capital more efficiently, and at scale that supports the expansion of local renewable energy projects, governments will be better able to achieve renewable electrification and development targets.

“If global energy consumption doesn’t change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we will not meet the Paris Agreement ambitions and millions of families will be left behind in poverty. We need to be honest and recognize that the current approach is not delivering the impact the world needs in the time that we have,” said Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation.

“Our collective ambition is to create a platform that supports renewable energy programmes which can deliver greenhouse gas reductions fast and efficiently and accelerate the energy transition. We need to replace polluting sources of energy with renewable ones, provide access to energy to communities and unlock further funding for sustainable models. Ultimately, we aim to unite countries and communities in urgent action to tackle the climate crisis, reduce 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and, by doing so, we hope to positively impact the lives of 1 billion people,” Per added.

“Millions of lives and trillions of dollars have been lost to Covid 19, forcing people back into poverty after decades of progress. The effects of the climate crisis will make this even worse, which is why we must invest now to reverse this downward spiral,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.

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