Throughout 2017, we worked with partners to identify and fill gaps in evidence, ensure quality data and analysis was being produced and presented the evidence in ways that were compelling and accessible – all with the aim of advancing discussions; influencing policymakers, priority setting and financial flows; and informing overall decisions on sustainable energy.

Our pioneering Energizing Finance report series – produced in partnership with the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, Climate Policy Initiative, Practical Action Consulting and E3 Analytics – provided a first-of-its-kind analysis of international and domestic finance flows for electricity and clean cooking access in 20 high-impact countries in Africa and Asia. The series was unveiled at the UN General Assembly in September 2017.

The research showed that financial commitments for electricity access in the 20 countries – representing 80 percent of those without electricity globally – averaged about $19.4 billion a year. That’s less than half the estimated $45 billion of annual investments needed to achieve universal electricity access. Further, only one percent of the finance tracked went to decentralized renewable energy solutions.

Financial commitments for clean cooking solutions in the 20 countries showed a much greater challenge – averaging just $32 million a year, a fraction of the $4.4 billion annual investment needed.

Following the release of the Energizing Finance report series, SEforALL strategically focused its efforts on sharing the key findings through speaking engagements, workshops and diplomatic outreach. This began with its formal introduction to Ministers and policymakers at the UN General Assembly in September 2017. Government ministers welcomed the Energizing Finance research: “It gives concrete guidance to all of the critical players. This is incredibly important,” said Martin Bille Hermann, State Secretary for Development Policy, Denmark.

Our Why Wait? Seizing the Energy Access Dividend report, released at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP23, provides a model framework for understanding and quantifying the benefits of delivering access to electricity to under-served populations more quickly through decentralized electricity solutions. The report used Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya as illustrative examples to show how the framework can be used to inform decision-making and how energy access can contribute to multiple sustainable development goals. It highlights the energy access dividends – financial, educational and climate benefits – that result by accelerating decentralized renewable energy solutions, such as solar home systems and mini grids, in rural areas that are typically last in line and years away from centralized grid-based electricity. The report, commissioned by SEforALL and Power for All, was produced and authored in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute.

SEforALL also produced new gender- and energy- mapping research, including a database and report Opening Doors: Mapping the Landscape for Sustainable Energy, Gender Diversity & Social Inclusion. The research was an effort to systematically catalog the wide-ranging universe of stakeholders and initiatives that are addressing energy poverty and accelerating the global clean energy transition by empowering women and promoting gender equality and social inclusion. SEforALL is working now with ENERGIA to make the dataset more accessible through an interactive website. The overall research work ties closely to the People-Center Accelerator, a partnership-led initiative launched by SEforALL in 2017 and highlighted under Connecting Partners.