6th meeting of the Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning takes place

The 6th meeting of the Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning was held on 1 July 2021 on the fringes of the annual (virtual) Joint Summer School on Modelling Tools for Sustainable Development. The meeting took place after a pause of over a year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Roundtable process has developed the ‘Key principles for improving the support to strategic energy planning in developing and emerging economies’. These principles are a ‘code of conduct’ for development partners to work collectively towards improved effectiveness of their support to country governments on strategic energy system planning. The principles were developed to deal with a number of problems with current support in this area, notably that such support is often externally driven, fragmented and uncoordinated, often using non-standard resources that lack transparency, and engaging in ad hoc rather than sustained capacity building assistance. This often results in a lack of ownership of evidence, models and tools by national stakeholders, low political buy-in of the resulting policy recommendations and plans, an inability to improve, update, and implement the plans without external help, and inefficient allocation of resources for energy planning.

18 key institutions, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, IRENA and the UK’s FCDO have already endorsed the principles.

The July Roundtable meeting was an opportunity to discuss how to further widen the number of organisations endorsing the principles, consider plans for a formal launch of the principles and, most importantly, to look at how to move from endorsement to implementation. On the latter topic, the meeting heard back from GIZ on an exciting trial involving embedding the principles in the form of an annex to the contracts of consultants hired to provide energy system modelling services to support strategic energy planning in a Sub-Saharan African country. Early signs were that this was a good way of ensuring the key commitments to national ownership, coherence and inclusivity, capacity, robustness and transparency and accessibility are all hardwired into any support in this area to Southern governments.

Going forward, the Roundtable is expected to resume a more regular (albeit virtual) schedule of meetings to continue to push progress around the visibility, further endorsement and implementation of the principles.