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

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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.

energy poverty

Muzaffarpur, India, February 22, 2019. Courtesy of clicksabhi/

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 Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.