What is the IDE-E's contribution to sustainable energy development?

The Institute for Development, Environment and Energy (IDE-E), an international think-tank and policy-oriented research institute, has developed the public policy approach for sustainable energy deployment in developing and emerging economies. By providing countries with a proven method and customized tools for process-oriented assessment, analysis, planning, financing, implementation and evaluation, IDE-E aims to empower national and local stakeholders to support country-based public policy processes. These processes further provide an enabling environment for project-based investment or technology-focused initiatives to be effective, viable and generate the expected socio-economic benefits for the population.

 

 

What does IDE-E’s approach add to current international efforts?

  • To re-assess processes and policies against the specific background and constraints faced by developing and emerging economies. Because of the inherent technological, financial, and structural prerequisites, RE/EE development has seemingly been a privilege of developed countries, most facing an obligation to reduce emissions, yet with the necessary public resources and capacity (e.g., fiscal revenue) to reallocate resources from pollutant industries, to create incentives for RE/EE development, to invest in Research, Development and Demonstration (R, D&D), to establish medium and long-term subsidy policies, and to manage risks associated with long-term planning, among others. The processes and policies adopted in developed industrialized countries, therefore, need to be re-examined in the light of the specific constraints faced by developing and emerging economies.
  • To think beyond projects! National and local actors within a given country or jurisdiction should have the capacities needed to foster the needed conditions for renewable energy initiatives to be financially viable, technologically feasible and to serve long-term sustainable development goals.Policy-oriented studies and initiatives have mostly focused on ensuring an enabling environment for investment, particularly from foreign sources. In many cases, RE/EE promotion has been limited to isolated initiatives led by international agencies, NGOs, or private investors. This has often led to separate and uncoordinated actions within the same country or region, with limited input and informed decision-making processes from local governments and citizens’ groups. And even when adopted by national governments, RE/EE development has often been limited to government sponsored programs without a robust public policy process.
  • To put decisions back with decision -makers!  IDE-E attempts to provide local stakeholders with the necessary tools and knowledge for them to assess, analyze, plan and implement their own country-based strategies for renewable energy development, and to guide international partners on how to support them. Particularly in developing countries, RE/EE development has often been donor-driven and guided by the approaches and priorities of different partners: some have focused on legal and regulatory reform, others on capacity building, the development of specific technologies, rural development and sector-specific energy standard-setting. Often, governments and stakeholders in countries with developing and emerging economies, lack access to appropriate, operational, and applicable models and methods, adapted to their structural, political and economic constraints. As a results, they depend on their technical advisors, often external, to provide guidelines on how to assess current constraints and opportunities for RE/EE development, and how to design and implement a public policy process, adapted to the specific national context and applicable at both national and sub-national/local levels.
  • To understand public policy as more than a set of laws, regulations and publicly sponsored programs! The public policy process needs to be considered as a multi-faceted, multi-actor process that urges policy analysts and decision-makers to think of RE development as a continuous process of engagement between a country’s government, stakeholders, and the population.Renewable energy policy is usually understood as a set of laws, regulations and policy instruments (i.e. government programs, FiT, RPS, consumer subsidies, fiscal incentives, etc.), aimed at allowing RE technologies to become a viable option, compared with fossil fuels, hydroelectric and nuclear power. For RE/EE to serve national development goals in a sustainable manner, however, more than favorable regulatory and investment climates are needed: only a multi-faceted, multi-actor public policy process, aiming to provide equitable access to affordable energy, with associated economic and social benefits for the population (livelihood opportunities, social welfare, food security, access to health care and basic education, among others), while protecting ecosystems, can meet sustainable development goals as defined by a nation.