Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba

Clean energy investment project synthesis report

Publication date:
A. Cosbey
Type of publication:

This paper focuses on how investment flows into new clean energy infrastructure in developing countries can be ensured. It considers key political factors, barriers and incentives to energy investment and the role of international investment law. The authors stress that energy investment in developing countries to feed rapid economic growth is critically important to achieving development goals. International Energy Agency (IEA) cites a need for $22 trillion dollars in new energy investment between 2005 and 2030. By 2030 the result would be a 55 percent increase in global primary energy use, with developing countries accounting for three quarters of that total. The first need is for analytical national studies that highlight the obstacles to clean energy investment and the potential for profitable investment of this type. The authors assert that the problem of technology transfer is essentially an investment problem; not enough investment is taking place in transformative technologies that will both provide new sources of energy, and do so at a significantly lower cost to the environment. Concluding thoughts include that:

the private sector is going to have to be the main driver for the required levels of investment. Private sector clean energy investment has, in fact, been growing at a furious pace over the last few years; however, while this is an encouraging trend, the volumes do not yet stack up well against the needs
there are barriers specific to clean energy investment. These include a lack of clear guidance on future energy policy (lack of signals), monopoly structures for existing producers with lack of purchase agreements or feed-in tariffs for independent producers, and lack of fiscal incentives for clean energy production
more attention needs to be paid to the implications of international investment agreements for climate-related investment. The uncertainties of interpretation, particularly with respect to indirect expropriation and with obligations on fair and equitable treatment, may in the final analysis chill new regulations designed to address climate change
there may be potential for international investment agreements (IIA’s) to take on an unprecedented proactive role in promoting clean investment, as opposed to any and all investment, but this possibility needs more thoughtful analysis.