While the positive impacts of renewable energy development, the implementation and use of renewable energy for people and the planet are widely recognised, the direct contribution of local renewable energy projects to local community well-being has received limited attention. And while the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have been rightfully celebrated as global milestones towards securing livelihoods and opportunities now and in the future, they lack societal ownership and traction among communities, who are decisive in supporting and driving the necessary sustainability transformation.
However, aside from energy access, the opportunities for local energy projects to provide broader positive effects (such as community revenues) through co-investments are largely regarded as secondary co-benefits, if not entirely ignored by development policies and practices. Tapping into these opportunities for effective policies and practices in climate action and international development calls for a different approach to sustainable energy development (energy transitions in some countries): a social performance approach to energy development and investment, which we outline in this paper.
Related publication: The Social Performance Index
Year of publication: 2021
Authors: Grace Mbungu, Sebastian Helgenberger