Priorities for renewable energy investment in fragile states

Policy brief Energy, State, COVID-19 and State Fragility initiative

  • State fragility is strongly linked to prevalent climate hazards and poor energy access. Conflict, poverty, and poor governance increase countries’ vulnerability to climate change threats, while access to electricity – especially renewable – is lowest in fragile settings.
  • Four key factors make the scaling of renewable energy investment in fragile and conflict-affected states desirable and relevant: cost and practicality, increased and secured energy access, economic resilience, and inclusion and empowerment.
  • The massive drop in renewable energy costs makes these systems increasingly affordable and competitive options relative to fossil fuels. Solar energy has great potential in fragile settings, thanks to geographic characteristics and its incremental scalability.
  • Renewable energy systems are well suited to decentralised systems. Decentralisation is fundamental in fragile, high-risk contexts by increasing the resilience of energy systems. It reduces reliance on large generators (that are often targets during conflict), involves low capital density (reducing financial risks), and sees the democratisation of power systems.
  • Women in fragile economies are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of adopting fossil fuels. Home-based solar systems offer important opportunities for economic empowerment and social