Target: Dev Jagadesan, President and CEO, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Goal: Increase financial investment in renewable energy projects in developing countries.
A little-known United States government agency is quietly providing financial support for renewable energy projects in the developing world. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has fueled development of clean energy infrastructure in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
OPIC is currently investing in an initiative called “Power Africa,” which aims to double the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who have consistent access to electricity. This is a region where over 70 percent of the population, or 600 million people, does not have access to the energy grid. The primary strategy behind meeting that goal is through funding of solar energy projects. This includes partnership with a Dutch company called Lumos, which has developed an innovative low-cost solar-powered home electricity kit. Utilizing a small solar panel and electric generator, at an up-front cost to consumers of only $75 and a small monthly fee payable via cell-phone, the kits have provided an emission-free energy source for 30,000 in Nigeria. Planned expansion will bring the kits to at least 10 million more across Sub Saharan Africa by 2020. Purchase of the solar kits also serve as an investment for customers as the monthly fee is waived after 1,500 days of use, with energy provided completely free of charge thereafter.
Renewable energy projects such as the one being implemented in Nigeria present a critical opportunity to transition developing economies away from fossil fuels. Most of those countries rely primarily on coal, oil and natural gas for energy generation. This poses a challenge from a climate change perspective, as growing energy needs in China and India have placed developing countries on a trajectory to account for over 65% of total greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. While OPIC has made a small investment in India’s renewable energy sector, there is an urgent need for increased support as the country is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2022.
The United States is able to help steer developing countries towards renewable energy, helping to delay the worsening impact of climate change for future generations. Please sign the below petition calling for increased financial support of clean energy projects in emerging economies.
Dear Mr. Jagadesan,
I am writing to request that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation increase its investments in renewable energy. As you are aware the OPIC provides critically needed financial support for clean energy projects in developing countries. For example, an investment in a solar project in Sub-Saharan Africa is helping provide consistent access to emission-free electricity for millions of people.
There is an urgent need for expanded investment in countries such as India, which is expected to be the world’s most populous nation by 2022 and still primarily relies on fossil fuels for energy generation. You are in a unique position to help steer their growing economy towards renewable energy sources.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sarangib