With all of the climate talks, protests, and stunts during the Copenhagen UN summit on climate change, you may have missed an announcement about funds for clean energy in the developing world. Secretary Steven Chu of the US Department of Energy announced a $350MM from the Major Economies Forum to launch the Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment initiative (Climate REDI), focused on four key areas of development:
- The Solar and LED Energy Access Program: deploying affordable solar home systems and LED lanterns as an alternative to polluting kerosene.
- The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Program:harnessing the market power of major economies to improve incentives for buying and using energy-efficient appliances.
- The Clean Energy Information Platform: establishing an online platform for major economies countries to share best practices of technical resources, policy experience and infrastructure for clean energy technologies.
- The Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program: providing policy support and technical assistance to low-income countries under the World Bank’s Strategic Climate Fund.
It appears that the program will operate through NGOs and government-backed organizations like Lighting Africa, Lighting a Billion Lives, and the Lumina Project, and other efforts that focus on solving energy issues at a large scale. Existing government-focused organizations like the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, the Collaborative Labeling and Standards Program, EPA’s Energy Star program and the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate will focus on the efficient appliances initiative. Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Information Platform will operate through theClimate investment Funds, managed by the World Bank.
The Major Economies Forum is long on the idea that technology is a potential accelerator to solve for climate change, with a focus on rapid deployment and scale. Yet several social entrepreneurs, NGO workers, and scientists have spoken of the need to not replicate a developed world model of technology based on rapid obsolescence, cheap component parts, and scale for scale’s sake. In the wake of complicated discussions in Copenhagen, what do you think about a technology-led initiative from larger economies?