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Public finance for universal energy access

This IRENA brief seeks to map public financing needs and challenges related to expanding energy access in line with the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 7.


To reach universal access to energy services by 2030, the world needs to drastically increase efforts to scale up finance, investment and policy support. An estimated USD 30 billion in annual funding is needed between 2021 and 2030 in grid/mini-grid and standalone renewable generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure to reach universal electricity access, and around USD 6 billion for clean cooking technologies and fuels. While private investments are important, public finance will remain essential to bridge the funding gap, particularly in areas that are not yet considered attractive by the private sector.

Public finance remains essential in deploying energy services to areas unaddressed by the market; investing in an ecosystem that supports and influences the sustainability and resilience of energy deployment; ensuring access to last mile, underserved and marginalised communities; bridging end-users affordability gaps; and de-risking and catalysing private capital effectively through policy and regulatory instruments.

This IRENA brief offers a tool for policymakers and public financiers to track and optimise public financing to advance energy access. It seeks to map public financing needs across the energy access ecosystem; identify challenges in scaling public financing for modern energy access; and capture stakeholder preferences across public finance instruments, intermediaries and recipients.