Studying how renewable energy projects affect peace and conflict dynamics
Ecorys’ International Development Unit (IDU) together with the Just Transition team was contracted by the PeaceNexus Foundation and the International Growth Centre to conduct a case study based research into the potential impacts of renewable energy projects on peace and conflict dynamics in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCAS).
Achieving targets for universal energy access and net zero emissions by 2050 necessitates a significant increase in investment in renewable energy, with a particular focus on Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCAS), as they are home to 85% of the 675 million people who lack access to electricity.
There is an assumption that delivering access to affordable and reliable energy via renewable sources will positively impact social dynamics. As found in our research, this assumption does not automatically hold true. In fact, there are genuine risks that these projects (like any other projects implemented in fragile settings) can negatively affect the areas in which they are implemented. These projects can potentially worsen situations by either creating or exacerbating conflicts and tensions or by violating human rights. There are several documented examples where these risks have already materialised.
To proactively mitigate the risks of negative impacts and ensure investments in renewable energy projects deliver anticipated financial returns as well as positive societal outcomes, project developers and investors must consider the dynamics that influence the local and broader contexts where these projects are implemented in the design and implementation of such projects.
Improved contextual awareness and integration of conflict sensitivity measures as part of due diligence helps to not only better mitigate and manage risks that come with operating in fragile settings, but also capitalise on the potential positive social impacts of renewable energy.
Drawing on literature and interviews with project developers, investors, affected communities, energy practitioners and researchers, the paper produced by Ecorys offers insights and recommendations for investors and project developers. The paper aims to enable investors and project developers to integrate conflict sensitivity into the lifecycle of renewable energy projects, in order to better mitigate risks and harness opportunities to support economic and social stability in fragile markets.
For more information, contact Sharon Beijer, Senior consultant Governance & Peacebuilding
Read the full report (in English) here.