Inspectie Ontwikkelingssamenwerking en Beleidsevaluatie

14 million people received access to renewable energy: impact electricity larger than cooking energy; climate mitigation less than expected

In 2008, the then minister for Development Cooperation allocated EUR 500 million to renewable energy in developing countries. It can be concluded that the Dutch policy on energy in development cooperation has been effective in providing 14 million people with access to renewable energy and therefore has exceeded by 40% the Dutch commitment.

The impact on a household's income and expenditure is limited in the short run, but in the case of electricity it is positive in the long run. The impact of renewable energy on well-being is considerable, e.g. improved security, better health, and better access to information and communication. The impact of electricity is larger than that of cooking energy (biogas digesters or improved cooking stoves).

The use of renewable energy sources by the poorer strata of society in developing countries hardly contributes to a mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions. The evaluated interventions have overestimated the contribution of the envisaged activities to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The implemented policy was relevant, both from a poverty reduction and a climate perspective, but a single intervention cannot serve both objectives at the same time. Besides outsourcing and delegating funds to third parties, the Dutch modus such as the Worldbank and the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This modus operandi enabled the Ministry to limit the managerial costs and to better influence the policy of those partners towards renewable energy in developing countries. However, outsourcing also implied that the Ministry could not always enforce its own policy objectives, such as a focus on specific geographical priority areas, nor could it always get the information needed for its own accountability on performance and achievements.

For more information about the evaluation findings and lessons, see the English summary of the report.