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EEG to coordinate international initiative on strategic energy planning

Strategic energy planning is an essential part of policy and decision-making in the energy sector. Good planning can help enable the scale-up in investment needed to meet economic and social development goals. However, strategic energy planning is also a complex process requiring the coordination of multiple sectors and governance levels, numerous stakeholders, and often complex models and decision support tools.

In November 2017, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) convened a Roundtable Discussion focused on improving the way in which development partners support strategic energy planning in developing countries. A second Roundtable Discussion was hosted by EEG during the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) Forum held in Lisbon in May 2018. In attendance were representatives from major donors and technical institutions engaged in this space (e.g. WB, IFC, AfDB, UNDESA, UNECA, PowerAfrica, SEforAll, IEA, IRENA, IAEA, AFD, WRI, GIZ, SNV, KTH).

Participants identified a series of common challenges to strategic energy planning. For instance, in many developing countries, current energy policy and planning decisions are often based on analysis from external experts, and lack crucial buy-in from local stakeholders. Donor support is often fragmented in nature, acting at different levels within different sectors, and with diverse objectives. Finally, data sets, models and analytical tools used in energy planning frequently lack transparency or are inaccessible.

The Roundtable Discussions – initially standalone opportunities for organisations to share challenges and experiences – have evolved into a more structured and longer-term initiative made up of a group of international stakeholders that share a common vision and areas of activity. It is now known as the Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning’ and is currently coordinated by the EEG programme.

The Roundtable Initiative’s objective is to improve the coherence of strategic energy systems planning by increasing the effective use of evidence and analysis by decision-makers in developing countries. It has four focus areas:

  1. Harmonised engagement: defining and promoting the adoption of common principles for strategic energy planning in developing and emerging economies.

  2. Capacity building through co-creation: improving strategic energy planning and modelling capacity of key national institutions (both technical and political).

  3. Community platforms: fostering an ecosystem where data, evidence models and other decision support tools are transparent and easily accessible.

  4. Data, models, and standards:  improving the quality of energy models and the evidence behind them.

Towards the first focal area, the Roundtable Initiative has defined five common principles that, if widely applied, would help country governments, development agencies, financial institutions, and technical organisations to work collectively towards improved effectiveness of planning:

  1. Coherence of strategic decisions. Improve the coherence of long-term strategic decision-making and development goals (including SDGs) by committing to evidence-based and integrated planning processes, fostering greater coordination amongst development finance institutions (DFIs).

  2. National ownership. Commit to energy planning processes being country-led with high-level political buy-in of strategic objectives and plans. Planning processes should be inclusive of key energy stakeholders in the country to ensure broad consensus. National and regional stakeholders should be empowered to implement and update the plan and push back on proposals that do not align.

  3. Capacity building. Support countries to strengthen existing national planning processes so as to foster leadership in strategic planning, and incorporate plans and evidence into the decision-making and implementation processes.

  4. Robustness of planning. Ensure planning tools, models and analyses have a strong technical and economic foundation, are fit-for-purpose to deal with changing circumstances in the energy sector, and support flexible and adaptive approaches to energy sector planning.

  5. Data transparency and accessibility. Promote open access to and review of planning inputs (data, design and assumptions), and encourage the accessibility of planning outputs to stakeholders.

​​​​​EEG is currently holding bilateral and multi-lateral discussions with Roundtable participants to secure their endorsement of the principles. Our ultimate goal is that the principles become the common standard in commissioning and delivering assistance work in strategic energy planning.

To find out more about the Roundtable Initiative or get involved, please email eeg@opml.co.uk.