SNV and partners discuss the road to universal energy access at COP23


During the COP23, UN Climate Change Conference, held in Bonn 6-17 November 2017, SNV organised a side event in the form of a panel discussion entitled “Transformational pathways towards universal energy access”

The panel, which consisted of Roelof Buffinga, Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Ram Prasad Dhital, Ministry of Population and Environment in Nepal; Andries Hof, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and Dean Cooper, SNV expert on Innovative Finance, looked at the ways in which energy transition pathways could result in transformational change and contribute to SDG7 - universal energy access. Clare Shakya, Director of the Climate Change Group at IIED, moderated the event. To read more about SNV’s presence at this event, please see our COP23 webpage.

Presentation by Dean Cooper, SNV.

Roelof Buffinga, Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Roelof Buffinga, Head of Climate & Energy at the Netherlands Ministry referred to the strong climate focus in the development agenda of the newly installed cabinet. Both adaptation as well as mitigation issues will be addressed in the ministry’s renewable energy programme and he highlighted that it is necessary to leverage private climate finance with ODA development money.

Andries Hof of PBL presented the key conclusions from their recent report “Towards universal electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa - A quantitative analysis of technology and investment requirements”, specifically looking at trade-offs and synergies between universal electricity access and climate change mitigation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The PBL study shows that the increase in CO2 emissions due to achieving universal electricity access in SSA is negligible compared to worldwide emissions, and that decentralised systems will, and have to, play an important role in meeting SDG7.

Ram Dhital, executive director of the Nepal Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), outlined the Government of Nepal’s strategy to speed up energy access. Their success relies on a combination of strengthening institutional capacities, promotion of renewable energy through policies and incentives, and financial mechanisms in support of public-private partnerships.

Dean Cooper of SNV underlined the importance of private sector involvement in the advancement of universal energy access and emphasised that without energy vision and clear regulations, companies or financiers won’t invest – a clear policy framework and long-term planning is essential. In developing a long-term energy plan, it is crucial to understand the issues and agendas at a local level, and include local stakeholders in the process. All countries and regions are unique, so we need varied approaches.

Dean Cooper also introduced SNV’s approach on Integrated Energy Planning, looking at electrification as a first step towards broader cross-sector development linking food, water and energy. For reaching the “last mile”, the transaction costs for energy investments are high and investors need larger scale opportunities which include possibilities for productive energy use, to further economic development.

Roelof Buffinga in his closing remarks emphasised the importance for countries to reconfirm their commitment to SDG7 during next year’s policy review. He also commended the Netherland Development Organisation by stating that “SNV is one of our best partners in finding new business models for transformational change in energy and climate”.

Ram Prasad Dhital, Ministry of Population and Environment in Nepal.

In his closing remarks Dean Cooper said, “Our support for the mini-grids in Zimbabwe can answer the question that’s been asked for years – is there a business model for decentralised electrification? The link between agriculture and energy provides this opportunity – it’s a real game-changer!”

To find out more information regarding this side event, please contact Rianne Teule,