Why Tackling Energy Governance in Developing Countries Needs a Different Approach

Resource type
Why Tackling Energy Governance in Developing Countries Needs a Different Approach
Global efforts to improve energy access and quality and to tackle climate change need a different approach to addressing poor energy governance. In 2015, leaders from around the world agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.1 The seventh goal (SDG7) is “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” In the same year, the world’s leaders concluded the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, which will require a global transition of the energy sector away from the use of fossil fuels. Yet, in many developing countries, despite growing investments in clean energy, the transition is happening much more slowly than needed to achieve SDG7 and avert damaging climate change. The central reason for this is poor energy governance. This paper outlines the size and nature of the energy challenge, with a focus on electricity. It describes the investments that are currently being made to improve the quality of power and access to electricity — and the growing evidence that investments often fail due to poor energy governance. The paper then delves more deeply into how bad governance influences the quality of and access to electricity, with specific country examples. It shows the importance of understanding how electricity fits into the political settlement of a country and how this affects the incentives of key actors in the sector. Unfortunately, donor projects designed to widen electricity access or to support reform of the power sector in developing countries often pay too little attention to the problem’s political nature; the same is true of measures to improve energy efficiency or to promote renewables. The paper outlines a new way of thinking about energy governance and shows how interventions can be better matched to the different governance challenges that they face. It concludes with recommendations for donors on how energy programs can be better designed and procured — as well as recommendations for implementors on how to improve the chances of successful implementation by adapting to the political realities of the contexts in which they operate.
The Policy Practice & Chemonics
Library Catalog
McCulloch, N. (2021). Why Tackling Energy Governance in Developing Countries Needs a Different Approach (p. 30). The Policy Practice & Chemonics.