Launch of Bank Information Center’s (BIC’s) model energy strategy

Civil society event at the World Bank spring meetings 2010, 24 April

26 April 2010 | Minutes

Chad, BIC – We’d like to see an energy targets for each country.

Currently the Bank doesn’t fund nuclear, they should do the same for coal. A policy that still allows for a large project such as Eskom is the wrong way for the bank to go. Over the years the Bank has developed safeguard policies which are extremely important. We look forward to the Inspection Panel enquiry to find whether the safeguards have been followed to the spirit and the letter. If it finds that they were not, hope that the Bank will recognise Eskom was the wrong choice of project.

Encourage the Bank to take the resources to pursue small scale off grid solutions.

Dr Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

Efficiency-oriented strategy would have a huge multiplier effect. Need to remove inefficient old technologies. Often there is a south-south trade in these technologies. Distributed and decentralised electricity. Micopower( renewables minus large hydropower) is providing 17 per cent of the world’s electricity and 91 per cent of the world’s new electricity. The decentralised options are much more modern in their financial risks. The paper mentions the importance of decoupling – need to start rewarding utilities for cutting customers bills.

The variable sources of electricity (e.g. wind and photovoltaic), do not require storage for application to the grid. When renewables are properly diversified and integrated there is no need for bulk storage. Don’t see much work on efficient cooking pots but these simple technologies can increase efficiency of energy by a factorsof 2-5. Need for more innovative thinking in deploying renewables. There is a good deal of worthwhile discussion about reducing carbon emission. We need the most power per dollar and the most reduction per year. Similar opportunity cost if we buy the wrong things.

Bishop Geoff Davies, Faith communities and environment institute of South Africa

Eskom is an example of what the World Bank should not be doing. This is a political decision which will look absurd in the light of the impacts of climate change. There has been a lack of democracy in this decision. This development is not going to meet the inequalities. You can’t get onto the grid in a vast rural landscape. The World Bank must somehow find ways of meeting civil society need, not just government when agreeing its projects. Have to go in the direction of projects which will benefit people in the country directly, and is not simply export-led. South Africa has become the most unequal country in the world.

Need to support the local people in Africa to have access to renewable energy in order to stop deforestation.

Ikal Angelei, Friends of Lake Turkana

Gibe dam – most of the electricity generated will be for export, to get foreign exchange to help the poor. With previous projects done, there’s been no downstream assessment to check that has happened.

Trying to cope with climate change but the local people don’t know that its climate change, they think that it’s a national disaster.

When energy is sold to Kenya it is used for manufacturing.

The Gibe project will reduce the size of the lake, the impacts will include the reduced water table level, the bore holes and shallow wells that have been built will dry up. A refugee camp of displaced people will be created. The question from these local people is – can we eat electricity?

There is conflict in the region, in southern Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and northern Kenya people are heavily armed. The dam will tamper with the little livelihoods we have, is the bank willing to fund a project that will increase conflict between communities. If the Bank wants to invest in renewable energy, they should research what the potential of these energy sources are for Africa and start making decisions to invest in them.

At the moment the Bank’s definition of development is increased poverty in Ethiopia, and women having to arm themselves.