US Development Bank to Invest $2B to Overcome Energy Poverty in Partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation

Dec. 21, 2020
The US DFC plans to invest up to $2 billion, and the Rockefeller Foundation up to $50 million, to end energy poverty by expanding development of distributed energy systems, including minigrids.

The US International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) plans to invest up to $2 billion, and The Rockefeller Foundation up to $50 million, to end energy poverty by expanding development of distributed energy systems, including minigrids.

The two organizations announced a memorandum of understanding today to work together to bring reliable power to the 800 million people with no electricity and the 2.8 billion who have unreliable power.

The project is designed to help spur economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage long-term economic growth.

DFC’s $2 billion will go toward distributed renewable energy systems; The Rockefeller Foundation $50 million will be used to de-risk DFC’s investments.

Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, said that the pandemic “has undermined decades of progress on poverty reduction.”

“Global cooperation and investment are desperately needed to address this crisis and ensure a broad and inclusive economic recovery,” Shah said.

 The project includes creation of  a multi-partner global platform to bring in additional investment. The platform will promote co-financing, grant making, transaction pipeline development, advocacy and technical assistance.

“Our collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation fills a critical gap that exists for the private sector to finance renewable energy projects, a problem that has been exacerbated by the global pandemic,” said Adam Boehler, CEO of DFC, which is a development bank created by the US government. “By using blended finance, this agreement advances DFC’s work to sustainably expand energy access while continuing to respond to the pandemic by focusing on communities that have been traditionally been hardest to reach. Our partnership will empower billions of dollars of renewable energy projects across the developing world.”

The two organizations also will work together to communicate the role that green and distributed energy can play in powering economic recovery for the energy impoverished.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

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