High-Level Panel “Meeting the Financing Challenge to deliver Sustainable Energy for All” - Statement by Ambassador Wittig
(as prepared for delivery:)
"Mr. Assistant Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great privilege to open today’s meeting. I am delighted that you have chosen the German House as your venue. We have organized various events dedicated to “Sustainable Energy for All” in the past in the German House. Today’s high level meeting is a perfect continuation of this tradition and it is very timely as the challenges before us are huge:
1.3 billion people have no access to electricity and 2.7 billion people still use traditional biomass for everyday tasks such as cooking. The lack of access to modern energy services impedes progress in almost all areas of human development.
But how can the energy demand of nine billion people in 2050 be sustainably satisfied? How can the energy supply be affordable while the cost of fossil fuel rises? How can the future energy supply structure ensure sustainable growth while mitigating the pressure on our climate? How can we strengthen international co-operation to prevent conflicts over increasingly scarce energy sources?
These questions need to be answered as global sustainable development, including combating poverty and climate change, is impossible without improved access to sustainable and financially affordable energy for all.
Let me highlight two key messages from Germany’s perspective on the financing aspect as it is the topic of today’s meeting.
Firstly: adequate funding for sustainable energy is indispensable.
So far, Official Development Assistance has been the major instrument for funding in sustainable energy. Germany intends to provide an additional 100 million people with sustainable access to electricity and clean cooking energy until 2030 by doubling its renewable energy and energy efficiency related ODA.
At the same time ODA alone is not sufficient. Without a stronger engagement of the private business we will not be able to achieve our goals. The provision of energy services to the poor has been able to attract only marginal private investment. Innovative, flexible and attractive funding mechanisms are urgently required to better use the leverage effect of public resources and ODA and to get more investments from the private sector, development banks and financial institutions.
Secondly: sustainable energy must be affordable.
As you probably know Germany has embarked on the transformation of its energy system. It is built on two pillars: a significant increase in energy efficiency and a cost effective and rapid expansion of renewable energy. We are phasing out nuclear energy and intend to increase the share of renewable energy to 80 % by 2050. Renewable energies and energy efficiency not only contribute to reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They also offer huge business opportunities. Global investment in renewable energy already totals more than 200 billion US dollars a year. Over the past few years it has seen double-digit growth and we expect this growth to continue. We therefore believe that renewable energy must play a crucial role in the concept of providing sustainable energy to all. Harmful fuel subsidies, aimed at making energy more accessible, are ineffective in supporting the poorest and lead to high greenhouse gas emissions.
I am convinced that a strong partnership between governments, international finance institutions and the private sector is the key for achieving our common target to provide sustainable and financially affordable energy for all. The Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative which Germany fully supports provides a substantial and widely accepted approach in this regard. I am confident that your deliberations today will help to develop urgently required suggestions how to form this broad partnership.
I thank you and wish you a fruitful meeting."