• Feature Story
  • |
  • May 17, 2017

The CIF at the Vienna Energy Forum 2017

CIF Action 

Since 2008, the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has been leading efforts to empower transformations in the energy, climate resilience, transport, and forestry sectors.

This year's Vienna Energy Forum had a focus on ways to contribute to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. 

Since 2008, the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has been leading efforts to empower transformations in the energy, climate resilience, transport, and forestry sectors. CIF concessional financing offers flexibility to test new business models and approaches, build track records in unproven markets, and boost investor confidence to unlock additional finance from other sources, including the private sector, governments, and the multilateral development banks (MDBs) that implement CIF-funded projects.

This year's Vienna Energy Forum had a focus on ways to contribute to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The global gathering was a timely opportunity for diverse institutions and individuals to meet, discuss and highlight their respective efforts, ideas and contributions towards SDG 7 (access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).

The CIF contributed to the Forum conversation with several events, highlighting projects supported through the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program. 

May 9 - Energy Access Redefined: Emerging Findings from the Global MTF Survey

The Multi-tier Framework (MTF) heralds a shift away from the traditional, perhaps even simplistic, approach to measuring access to energy—either having access or not. By recognizing that there are nuances to energy access that a binary approach misses, the MTF method helps capture several key and informative aspects—capacity, duration, quality and reliability, affordability, and safety—as well as the impact on socioeconomic development. 

In collaboration with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program and the World Bank's Energy Global Practice, the CIF organized an engaging session where Kenya and Rwanda, the first two countries to have completed the MTF survey, shared some initial findings and lessons from the process. By looking at the multiple dimensions of access in households, business, and community facilities, the MTF captures more detailed and more accurate information about the quantity and quality of energy services received by households, as illustrated in the visual below.

READ - session overview, participants and presentations

WATCH - Kenya's approach to the MTF survey

May 10 - Scaling up Energy Efficiency Financing: Lessons Learned from the CIF

The Clean Technology Fund has provided more than $5 billion concessional financing to middle-income countries to scale up the demonstration, deployment, and transfer of low-carbon technologies in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transport. Energy efficiency makes up about 15 percent of the current CTF portfolio, compared with over 70 percent for renewable energy.

Given the growing interest in this topic, it was a full house when the session opened with a new video about how Turkey is using a leasing, not lending, model to spur energy efficiency in small and medium sized enterprises.

The side event featured three case studies from CTF-financed energy efficiency projects in India, Mexico, and Turkey. Government officials and financiers from these countries presented their experiences, lessons learned and perspectives on the role of public finance in unlocking the energy efficiency market. MDB participants also shared their insights on scaling-up energy efficiency financing, including in the context of implementing climate action plans.

5 Takeaways from the Conversation

  1. Macroeconomic drivers, such as current account deficits, can help drive supportive policies – such as favorable tax incentives - for energy efficiency. Also, export-orientated economies and sectors that rely on operational efficiency and cost-cutting can also create a fertile ground for energy efficiency financing.
  2. Even in countries where there are low-carbon targets and supportive policies for EE financing, access to financing can be a major challenge for banks to develop EE financing lines. Often times the money is available in local capital markets, and the business models are well known for deploying these for EE, though local banks will still not choose to develop these product lines due to high perceived risk and lack of capacity.
  3. Concessional funds can provide the incentives necessary to help local banks develop and build-out their energy efficiency financing line of business, while also allowing development financing institutions to open the door to work with strong local financing institutions. Also, concessional funds can help decrease the perceived risk of EE products by local banks, which helps decrease financing costs for end-use customers.
  4. Building capacity of loan officers and management from local banks and providing them with tools, such as the digitalization and standardization of energy audit process/reporting, can be critical to helping local banks understand the EE financing business and develop and market these new lines of business. Since EE and energy savings are often not the priority for end-use SME customers, 3rd party advisors can be critical to helping banks originate and disburse the initial tranche of loans for these products.
  5. Upstream work, such as surveying potential customers in a target sector in order to evaluate appetite for EE financial products, can be critical to mitigate uncertainty regarding the development of these products. Another way to mitigate this risk for local FIs is to develop legally binding performance contracts that guarantee proper installation and operation of EE systems, as well as providing a 3rd party guarantee for the performance of these systems.  



May 12 - High Level Plenary: Financing Innovative Business Models

The side event contributed to the conversation when Mafalda Duarte, Head of the CIF, chaired a panel on Financing Innovative Business Models, with business leaders from Austria, Morocco, and Namibia as well as representatives from Climate Policy Initiative, Practical Action, SADC Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency, and the World Energy Council.  The panel explored innovative, inclusive, and sustainable business models that can deliver the best use of available financial resources for the transition required to achieve access to energy that is affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern, for all.

The session rounded off the CIF's participation at VEF 2017 by asking the tough questions about how the global community can achieve a win-win through policies that help incentivize the private sector to enter low-income markets, so poor people can gain access to affordable and sustainable energy and at the same time support new energy-smart markets and supply chains. 

Overall, the Forum facilitated rich conversations on a wide range of topics—from innovation in business models, to attracting private sector investment, how to finance the inevitable energy transition and more—with events of all sizes and participants from all corners of the world.