Public statement on energy solutions

Our mission  

         Sustainable Development Goal 7  

  1. The mission of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is to significantly speed up and deliver at scale the solutions needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – by 2030.   

    The Paris Climate Agreement and Global ‘Net-Zero’
  2. The same communities impacted by lack of access to sustainable energy are also on the front lines of climate change. Achieving the Paris Agreement and global ‘Net Zero’ carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 is imperative and will require innovative, sustainable solutions that can meet the needs of everyone, including communities currently left behind in the energy transition.

A Just and Equitable Energy Transition

  1. Achieving the goals of SDG7 and ‘Net-Zero’ greenhouse gas emissions means that all countries and sectors must urgently undergo an ‘energy transition’ from current unsustainable (characterized by high carbon emissions) to future sustainable (‘Net Zero’ emissions) energy systems.   

    The concept of justice in energy transitions emphasizes the need to meet the specific needs of local, national and regional economies that today derive a high proportion of jobs and tax revenue from the fossil fuel sector and that need to manage social impacts of an accelerated shift away from this sector.

    International equity in energy transitions is also an essential consideration for those countries currently experiencing high energy poverty rates, where the starting point is also characterized by inadequate or absent energy infrastructure and the end point must be a sustainable energy system that also allows growth, development and a dignified life for all.

  1. We believe therefore that a ‘Just and Equitable Energy Transition’ for all countries is needed to meet the following imperatives in concert:;

    • A credible trajectory to ‘Net Zero’ carbon dioxide emissions;  

    • Ending energy poverty, including closing energy access gaps;  

    • Powering industrialization, economic growth, job creation and skills development;  

    • Adapting to the effects of climate change; and   

    • Leaving no-one behind, and particularly ensuring the empowerment and full participation of women and youth in the energy transition.  

Energy sources and energy finance  

  1. Our work at the intersection of global Energy, Climate and Development challenges is driven by the urgent need to scale up renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage capacity globally, with a focus on decentralized renewable energy solutions (solar home systems, solar minigrids, standalone solar systems for productive use) that we believe can most cost-effectively deliver essential energy access to communities impacted by energy poverty, and clean cooking solutions that reduce reliance on traditional biomass and charcoal for cooking.  

  1. There is unequivocally no sustainable future in fossil fuel-based power generation. Renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels for power generation in almost all countries, e-cooking with renewables is starting to gain traction and electrification of transport is increasingly cost effective in most countries.

  1. The country and sector scenarios where natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel for backup generation are still needed to reduce human suffering and save lives are increasingly limited, and are typically characterized by: significant domestic energy poverty challenges; access to domestic fossil fuel reserves; a heavy reliance on imported sustainable energy technology; and/or high cost of capital.

  1. Access to adequate, low-cost finance for renewable power is essential to further limit the prevalence of these scenarios, reflecting the relatively higher CapEx and lower OpEx needs of renewables compared to fossil fuel-based power generation.

  1. SEforALL tracks flows of energy finance to developing countries on a regular basis, and we have highlighted that chronic shortfalls in the amount of finance available for sustainable energy, and particularly decentralized renewables and clean cooking, are a significant constraint on the Just and Equitable Energy Transition.

  1. The prohibitively high cost of capital for energy infrastructure in many African countries, along with other factors, is still holding back unnecessarily the deployment of renewables on a continent with significant untapped renewable energy potential. To accelerate the urgently needed transition away from fossil fuels, the ‘Global South’ requires significantly more international engagement and support.

How we work

  1. With just a few years to go until the 2030 deadline for the SDGs, we recognize the urgency of the challenge and the human, economic, and environmental costs being incurred as a result of inaction.   

  1. Through systemic market making solutions, SEforALL aims to address the barriers that lock countries into high carbon futures. These solutions include: a results-based financing fund (the Universal Energy Facility) that improves the cost economics of decentralized renewable energy; support to the development of high integrity carbon markets to drive carbon finance into clean energy projects in Africa (the African Carbon Markets Initiative); and a Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative that seeks to address supply chain risk and to create green jobs in Southeast Asia and Africa.

  1. The communities and countries most impacted by lack of energy access must be partners in developing approaches tailored to their contexts, and in implementing the solutions that are sustainable, affordable, effective and support industry and productive use. We believe the policy and finance decisions that shape these countries' futures should take evidenced-based and nuanced views of the roles that different energy sources (and energy efficiency) can play in the short, medium and long term.

  1. In the complex process of energy policy development, we believe our role in working with partner governments is to: present fact-based evidence; identify potential opportunities to bring universal access to sustainable energy; and allow each government to make an unbiased and well-informed assessment of the policy options available to it. Our role seeks to respect the complete autonomy of each partner government in discharging its responsibilities towards its constituencies, and towards the wider global community, while supporting them to reach the globally adopted goals of universal energy access by 2030, and net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Examples of this support to partners include Energy Transition and Investment Plans (ETIPs), Integrated Energy Access Plans (IEPs), Powering Healthcare Roadmaps, and Cooling Needs Assessments.   

  1. Further background to our work and partnerships is available on our website, including case studies on how we are working on specific projects and the results we are achieving. 

Partnerships and funding

  1. SEforALL, as an organization, works to promote universal access to sustainable energy as part of a Just and Equitable Energy Transition. We do not, and will not, conduct work that seeks to promote fossil fuels over sustainable alternatives in any setting.

  1. We review new funding and new partnerships carefully for alignment with our mission and objectives. We do not, and will not, accept partnerships or project funding that seeks to promote a single fossil fuel solution, or fossil fuels as a group. We do not, and will not, accept funding directly from companies and organizations whose activities are substantively part of the coal, oil and/or gas sectors (including companies broadly recognized to be “fossil fuel companies”). Subject to careful assessment on a case-by-case basis that we bring to the attention of our Governance Board, we may accept funds from organizations that themselves derive revenue from the oil and gas sector, but whose primary mission we deem to be wholly aligned with SDG7 (examples may include selected development finance institutions, independent foundations, and energy access companies). A full list of our funders is available here.

  1. We engage with companies in the oil and gas sector in order to advocate for their greater ambition and action on SDG7 and the energy transition, including for example through Energy Compacts to the United Nations.  Such engagements do not entail the receipt of funding nor promotion of partner branding.  


Statement last updated

This statement was last updated on 17th May 2023

Version history 

17th May 2023: Paragraphs 2 and 4 corrected to refer to ‘Net-Zero’ carbon dioxide (rather than greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050 in line with current recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Paragraph 15 updated to link to case studies on SEforALL’s work. Paragraph 17 updated ‘Administrative Board’ to ‘Governance Board’ reflecting new naming for this body. Hyperlinks added and/or cleaned up throughout the statement for ease of reference.

26th April 2023: Extensively updated version published based on consultation with our Governance Board and Funders’ Council.