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Topic: Financing

[Episode #201] – India Update Part 2

This is part two of our interview with Mohua Mukherjee, a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Previously, she was a development economist and project manager with the World Bank, working in over 40 countries.

In this second part, we dive into India’s use of oil and natural gas, and why it has continued to purchase these fuels from Russia, even as the West has implemented trade restrictions. We go on to explore India’s unique approach to transitioning mobility to vehicles that run on electricity and CNG. We highlight India's strategy for developing domestic industries in battery manufacturing, solar energy, hydrogen electrolyzers, and other clean technologies. We also take a closer look at India's astonishing progress in expanding electricity access to its vast population. We examine the challenges faced by electricity distribution utilities in the country, and their efforts to enhance efficiency. Finally, we address India's progress on its climate initiatives and the importance of ensuring a "just transition" as the nation reduces its reliance on coal-fired power.

Be sure to check out part one of this interview in Episode #199 for a review of India’s overall energy mix, including a close look at its use of coal, solar, and wind.

Geek rating: 5


[Episode #199] – India Update Part 1

This is part one of our interview with Mohua Mukherjee, a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Previously, she was a development economist and project manager with the World Bank, working in over 40 countries.

In this episode, we discuss the overall energy mix in India, and explore the dynamics of the coal power sector. We then take a deep dive into the solar power sector, including India’s innovative financing strategy leveraging a World Bank loan. Finally, we wrap it up with a look at the wind power sector.

In the second part, which will run as Episode #201, we’ll talk about India’s use of oil and natural gas, including why they are using gas for transportation. We’ll explore India’s investments into manufacturing clean technologies. We’ll review how their distribution utilities are improving access to grid power and improving efficiency. And we’ll end with a discussion about how India is taking a “just transition” approach to winding down its dependence on coal-fired power.

Geek rating: 5


[Episode #190] – Financing Utility Scale RE in Developing Countries

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the World Bank are increasingly under pressure to invest more in renewable energy projects in emerging markets. The lack of financing for such projects is a problem at the small, distributed scale as we discussed in Episode #189, and it’s also a problem for utility-scale projects as we discuss in this episode.

In this conversation, Brad Handler, a Program Manager and Researcher at the Sustainable Finance Lab of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines who tracks various such projects and initiatives, walks us through some recent Energy Transition Mechanisms (or ETMs) and Just Energy Transition (or JET) refinancing projects that aim to close coal plants in the developing world long before the end of their expected lifespans, and replace their generation with renewable power. A former Wall Street Equity Research Analyst with 20 years of experience covering the oil sector, Brad has a deep understanding of how finance in the traditional energy sector works, giving him an excellent perspective on how energy transition financing could work. He does a wonderful job of explaining the oftentimes opaque and complex world of sustainable finance so that it’s comprehensible.

Closing coal plants remains the number-one priority globally for reducing carbon emissions. So although these are still very early days for refinancing projects, it’s worthwhile to examine how and where development banks are finally taking some real steps to accelerate the energy transition in emerging economies, derisking the sector and motivating much more conventional private sector capital to participate.

Geek rating: 5


[Episode #189] – Financing the Transition

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), almost all of the growth in global clean energy spending is happening in advanced economies and China, while the two-thirds of the global population that live in emerging market and developing economies are receiving less than one-fifth of the total. The reason? The high cost of capital.

But why is the cost of capital so much higher in emerging economies than in advanced economies? Why is it still so much harder and more expensive to finance clean energy projects than it is to finance fossil fuel projects in those countries? And what can be done about it?

In this episode, we speak with a solar project developer working in Costa Rica to try to answer these questions. Building on our previous discussion from Episode #21, we try to explain why so little progress has been made, especially by the multilateral development banks (like the World Bank), in reducing the cost of financing for renewable energy projects in emerging economies. We review the different roles that various financial institutions play in financing the energy transition, and we ask what needs to change to unlock the flow of capital into energy transition solutions (especially distributed solar). We also put the risk and reward of investing in those projects in a fresh context, and call upon banks of all kinds to start acting in more creative and ambitious ways to take bolder action and get capital deployed where it is most needed, and where it can do the most good.

Geek rating: 6