Toggle Nav

World Wildlife Fund On Balance

filtered by category: Renewables

  • Date: 05 October 2015

Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies on the planet, with an expected growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2015 and 5 percent in 2016. But the lack of affordable, reliable energy could challenge continued economic and social development.

Because Africa’s population and economic growth are outpacing electrification efforts, the number of people without access to electricity is expected to grow from 585 million to 645 million by 2030; that’s more than twice the current population of the United States simply left behind.

The conventional approach to electrification on the continent mainly seeks to expand access to the centralized grid, and that will not be enough. The International Energy Agency estimates that in Africa, nearly half of the 315 million people who live in rural areas will depend on off-grid solutions, like mini-grids, to close the electricity gap, while a quarter of those who live in the remote rural areas will rely on smaller, stand-alone solutions like solar home systems for first-time energy access.

To achieve universal energy access by 2030, Africa needs an integrated approach that expands the grid while massively scaling up distributed generation (DG) -- modular systems that generate power close to where it is used. These include stand-alone systems, as well as mini-grids, which may be off-grid or grid connected.

Reaching Sustainable Development Goals through Distributed Generation

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), just adopted at the United Nations, acknowledge this growing energy gap in goal number 7, which sets a target of universal access to affordable, reliable, modern energy services within the next 15 years. These new goals – which aim to eradicate extreme poverty in an environmentally sustainable way -- emphasize the role of energy access as a means to that end. The SDGs also stress the importance of empowering and fully engaging civil society, the private sector, and – most importantly – the energy users themselves in developing energy access solutions.

WRI, WWF and Prayas Energy Group have developed a new resource, 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation, which can serve as a valuable tool for countries seeking to tap into distributed energy sources to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. The tool has been designed to assist stakeholders to better understand and make meaningful contributions to the energy planning processes in ways that will significantly impact the effectiveness of energy access initiatives and produce tangible development impacts.


Distributed Generation ("DG") Can Play a Role

With the cost of renewable energy technologies continuing to decline, and with the DG market witnessing truly transformational innovations – such as mobile money-enabled pay-as-you-go business models -- the market opportunity in Africa is tremendous. Yet, the use of DG is still limited in Africa; energy service providers are faced with significant challenges as they try to scale their impact. How do service providers better tailor their services to the needs of the households, businesses and communities that they are trying to serve? How do they ensure the provision of high quality energy services at affordable prices? How does the regulatory and planning environment impact the cost of energy services? How does the regulatory and planning process allow for smooth integration of distributed generation services into the grid?

The complexity of these challenges means that a wide network of actors must be engaged to collectively define energy needs and manage cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions. Decision-makers and planners, as well as civil society groups, development partners and investors, must not only more fully appreciate the contribution DG can make towards achieving energy objectives, but must also work together to create a supportive framework for its rapid expansion and integration into national energy plans.

This tool can be used to facilitate effective communication between stakeholders, discover knowledge gaps and develop collaborative research agendas. In the coming months, the tool will be put to use in Africa, where WWF and WRI are partnering to ensure that civil society, energy service providers, and other relevant stakeholders have a seat at the table to improve energy planning and program implementation. Through its local country offices in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, WWF is developing networks and Sustainable Energy Forums. Through these structures, the 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation will be used to help diverse constituencies work through complex, multifaceted and in some cases, divisive issues around priority setting and planning for energy access.

This framework will be a valuable tool as countries begin to pursue Sustainable Development Goal number 7 and move towards implementing Sustainable Energy for All country action agendas as well as national, district and local energy plans.


The 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation is part of a 4 part WRI’s 10 Questions series.

For additional information please contact Daniel Riley, Lead Specialist for Renewable Energy Policy at WWF

  • Date: 02 September 2015
  • Author: Matt Banks

 In August, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama announced the final Clean Power Plan, aiming to reduce carbon pollution from power plants across the nation. A safer and more prosperous future is within our grasp and on the horizon. To reach it, both governments and the private sector need to work together. Governments have made a major step with the Clean Power Plan. Businesses can match this step by committing to a zero-carbon future powered by renewable energy. The easiest place to start? A proven strategy designed by WWF, CDP and McKinsey & Co. that can save both money and carbon through:

  1. Energy efficiency through technology improvements
  2. Energy efficiency through management or behavioral changes
  3. Increased use of low-carbon energy
Continue Reading
  • Date: 01 May 2015
  • Author: James Beard, WWF and Rafael A Grillo Avila, Environmental Defense Fund

If international aviation were a country, it would be a global top ten carbon emitter, with emissions expected to triple or quadruple by 2040. This is why the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has agreed to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels.

ICAO aims to achieve this goal through technical and operational measures; carbon pricing through market-based measures (MBM’s); and biofuels. Many airlines see biofuels as a “silver bullet” for meeting their carbon goals. Already over 40 airlines have flown over 600,000 biofuel-powered flights.

Continue Reading
  • Date: 17 February 2015

The Buyers’ Principles were launched by WWF and the World Resources Institute (WRI) in July, 2014 with 12 major companies. Word continues to spread and there are now 25 signatories.

Continue Reading
  • Date: 31 July 2014
  • Author: Sandra Vijn, WWF

There’s another energy revolution developing from the most unlikely of places – cow manure


Today, President Obama released a “Biogas Opportunities Roadmap”, as part of the administration’s Climate Action Plan - Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The Roadmap promotes the market potential and benefits of biogas and encourages the adoption of closed-looped biogas systems. In action, this is collecting cow manure and allowing it to ferment in a sealed tank. The methane released during fermentation is captured and used for energy. In a closed-loop system, the “cooked” manure – essentially sterilized -- is separated into liquid and solid. The liquid is used as crop fertilizer and the solids can be used as cow bedding or compost.

Continue Reading
  • Date: 28 July 2014
  • Author: By Joshua Ryor, World Resources Institute (WRI) and Bryn Baker, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Earlier this month, Walmart and 11 other major companies announced their commitment to a set of Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles that outline how renewable energy providers and utilities can help meet the growing corporate demand for renewable energy.

Continue Reading
  • Date: 11 July 2014
  • Author: Marty Spitzer, Director US Climate and Renewable Energy Policy, WWF

What can rotary dial telephones, cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and door to door milk delivery teach us about the renewable energy revolution? They show us how once commonplace products and services have and will always be replaced by newer ones. It’s not farfetched to say 2014 is to renewable energy what 1955 was to the CRT TV – the golden age of renewable energy is just now upon us.

Continue Reading
  • Date: 19 June 2014
  • Author: Bryn Baker, Manager of Renewable Energy, WWF

For the largest corporations in the United States, clean energy is business as usual. And it’s good for business and our planet. In fact, nearly half of the largest companies in the U.S. are capturing significant business value by cutting emissions and using clean forms of energy to power their operations.

A new report from WWF, Ceres, Calvert Investments and David Gardiner and Associates finds that, 43 percent, or 215 of the companies in the Fortune 500 have set targets in one of three categories: (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments, (2) energy efficiency, and (3) renewable energy.

Leaders such as Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, General Electric, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Sprint, and Walmart have set targets across all three categories.

The largest companies in the Fortune 500 – the Fortune 100 – continue to lead: 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set clean energy and GHG reduction targets as of 2013. Since the first Power Forward report was released, companies like Apple and Pepsi have joined the ranks of other Fortune 100 companies with climate and clean energy targets.

The aggregate impact of the company actions is significant. Among the 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), they are conservatively saving $1.1 billion annually through their emission reduction and renewable energy initiatives. In 2012 alone, these companies decreased their annual emissions by approximately 58.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent – comparable to retiring about 15 coal plants – saving them an average of $19 per ton of CO2 equivalent.


The scale of these savings is likely to keep climbing rapidly as more companies realize the potential for big cost reductions enabled by energy efficiency and renewable energy. Individual companies have already achieved significant savings and have high expectations going forward. For example, IBM has saved a cumulative $477 million through its annual energy conservation actions. Walmart expects to save $1 billion globally per year through its renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Dell estimates that improvements in the efficiency of its products will save customers $1.1 billion annually. The trends are clear: leading companies are capturing business value by executing effective clean energy strategies, and with proven results, more are sure to join the pursuit.

  • Date: 03 December 2013

Community choice aggregation is one new way that cities are bringing 100% renewable electricity to their residents. What is it and how does it work? Keya Chatterjee, WWF’s director of renewable energy and footprint outreach, explains in two minutes:

Continue Reading
  • Date: 06 November 2013
  • Author: Bryn Baker, manager, renewable energy, WWF and Dan Seif, principal, RMI

WWF and RMI Hold Forum with Large Companies on the Riddles of Renewables

Empowered by aggressive climate and energy targets, companies more than ever before are driving the transition to renewable energy – but that effort is not without hurdles.

WWF’s Power Forward report, for example, showed that 60 percent of the Fortune 100 and Global 100 companies have climate goals. To meet these targets, renewables are high on the hit list but companies are finding buying and investing in renewable energy particularly challenging, even when they’re putting their shoulders into it. Witness Google’s white paper calling for new approaches to expand renewable electricity procurement options.

To address these challenges, WWF and RMI held a Corporate Renewable Energy Buyer’s Day. Companies representing more than $1 trillion in annual revenue discussed and prioritized how to best execute against these challenges.

Here’s what we found:

Continue Reading