The Scaling-up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP) was designed to address a gap in the international climate finance architecture by ensuring that finance is directed to assist low income countries in adopting low carbon energy technologies and using renewable energy to improve energy access. It is too early a stage in the SREP’s implementation to make definitive conclusions on its effectiveness. Program implementation has been relatively slow. It seems however that many of the programs in which it is investing are poised to result in important increases in renewable energy installed in country and the number of people with access to energy, although to date energy access has not been prioritised to the extent originally envisaged. The SREP’s programmatic approach, with significant resources dedicated to bringing stakeholders together to agree priorities and address institutional and capacity related issues, is in many ways a particular strength. The relatively high anticipated co-finance and leverage ratios for SREP funding are an indication of the effectiveness of national planning and programming processes. The extent to which the SREP’s flexible instruments have expanded the range of investment opportunities in target countries is not clear, however, and speaks to the difficulty of delivering finance at scale to increase access to energy in low income countries.
Sam Barnard and Smita Nakhooda