Encouraging clean energy investment in developing countries: what role for aid?
© 2014 Taylor & Francis. A large portion of foreign assistance for climate change mitigation in developing countries is directed to clean energy facilities. To support international mitigation goals, however, donors must make investments that have effects beyond individual facilities. They must reduce barriers to private-sector investment by generating information for developers, improving relevant infrastructure, or changing policies. We examine whether donor agencies target financing for commercial-scale wind and solar facilities to countries where private investment in clean energy is limited and whether donor investments lead to more private investments. On average, we find no positive evidence for these patterns of targeting and impact. Coupled with model results that show feed-in tariffs increase private investment, we argue that donor agencies should reallocate resources to improve policies that promote private investment in developing countries, rather than finance individual clean energy facilities. Policy relevance We suggest that international negotiations could usefully shift the focus of climate change finance towards adaptation in exchange for mitigation-improving policy reforms in developing countries. There is little evidence that mitigation-related financing is having broader effects on energy production, so new financial arrangements should be the focus of future negotiations. Additionally, international donors should focus efforts on reforming policies to attract private investment.
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