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Justin Guay
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Justin Guay is a climate and clean energy expert. He was formerly the Associate Director for the Sierra Club's International Climate Program, where he focused on energy lending reform at international financial institutions and global efforts to transition energy systems beyond coal to clean energy. He is presently the Program Officer covering climate at the Packard Foundation. He is based in San Francisco, CA. All opinions my own, do not represent Packard Foundation views.

Entries by Justin Guay

Why Should Climate Philanthropy Care About Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 11:59 AM

Investing in clean energy access provides a disruptive opportunity to revolutionize electricity systems and get on the right side of the politics of development -- philanthropy just hasn't realized it yet.

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To be fair, philanthropy needs to step up it's game on climate...

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Will Silicon Valley Take On Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 10:41 AM

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With interest from Elon Musk to a16z's Steven Sinofsky, momentum in Silicon Valley may be heading in an unlikely direction -- towards addressing energy poverty.

Energy poverty, which affects 1.2 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity, is, according to...

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A Call to Foundations to Step Up Giving, Act on Climate

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 1:28 PM

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It's time foundations stepped up their game when it comes to climate.

That's the message from two foundations that have invested big in climate: Larry Kramer and Carol Larson of the Hewlett and Packard Foundations. They delivered their message in The Chronicle of...

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Can PRI Finance Unlock Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 11:51 AM

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Photo courtesy of UK DFID

Access to finance is the largest near-term barrier to ending energy poverty for hundreds of millions around the world -- and foundation capital may be critical to overcoming it.

With conspicuously little fanfare Swiss asset manager

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Can Ending Energy Poverty Abroad Create Jobs at Home?

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 10:27 AM

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An innovative American company called All Power Labs has a creative approach to tackling the challenge of energy poverty, one that has turned existing ideas about development aid and manufacturing jobs on their head.

Tom Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives for All Power...

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Is the IFC Finally Moving Solar Investment Beyond the Grid?

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 11:59 AM

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Photo courtesy of Mathieu Young

Investment in beyond-the-grid clean energy has been growing steadily, albeit with the world's foremost development institution, the World Bank, missing in action.

Last fall, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International published a scorecard evaluating major...

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What Fenix International's Investment Says About Solar Beyond the Grid in 2015

(1) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 1:22 PM

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We're only one month into 2015 and it already looks like it'll be a wild ride when it comes to investment in solar energy beyond the grid.

I say that because I recently sat down with a private equity investor who has been...

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Did OPIC Just Finish A Watershed Beyond The Grid Solar Deal?

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Access to finance is the single largest barrier hindering clean energy access beyond the grid -- but the tide may be turning.

2014 was a breakout year for beyond the grid clean energy investment with at least $64 million invested, according to Greentech media. But in spite of this growing investment, the debt needed to scale successful companies is still all but absent. Which means whomever unlocks this debt unlocks scale, and that means powering hundreds of millions of lives.

In what may be a watershed moment on that front, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) just this week closed a deal with Simpa Networks, a leading solar-as-a-service company operating in India. Their announcement included raising $4 million in commercial debt financing from OPIC and GDF Suez.

With this new funding, Simpa Networks will be able to reach an additional 200,000 people with clean, reliable, beyond the grid energy. To date, Simpa Networks has delivered over 65-megawatt hours of power and has created over 2,800 full and part-time jobs. Simpa Networks' press release included the following statement from OPIC's President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield:

"Simpa's inclusive approach to spreading energy access makes them an ideal partner for OPIC's impact-focused development investment strategy. The kind of technological leap Simpa and like-minded innovators are achieving proves that off-grid, clean energy in emerging markets is not merely viable, but a true opportunity both financially and environmentally."

It just so happens we at the Sierra Club are quite familiar with the work of Simpa Networks. We featured them in our short video, "Harnessing the Sun to Keep The Lights On in India" -- a video that, by the way, will be screened at the wild and scenic film festival early next year.

All in all, the Simpa/OPIC deal may just be an important moment that marks a shift in the growth of this market. If this is in fact the case, it will be in large part thanks to innovative public agencies like OPIC whose U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) initiative has committed to supporting 25 clean energy projects in 10 African countries -- including significant support for beyond-the-grid clean energy companies.

The truth is OPIC is a leader in this market, and other agencies would do well to follow in their...

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Will World Bank President Dr. Kim Go the Last Mile for Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 12:16 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access
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The World Bank is failing to invest enough resources in clean energy access -- but Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim now has the opportunity to change all that.

Back...

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India's 'Airpocalypse' Could Kill 229,000 People Every Year

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 1:03 PM

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If India proceeds to build all proposed coal-fired power plants, the country may face a quarter million deaths every single year - and its own coal-fueled "airpocalypse."

That's the stark findings of the latest report from India-based Conservation...

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Big Banks Propping Up Dirty Coal Industry to the Tune of $89 Billion

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 12:50 PM

Co-authored by Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign coordinator at Banktrack.

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After nearly destroying the global financial system, big international banks are yet again undermining international stability, this time by underwriting the coal industry's devastating effect on climate disruption and human health.

...
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Holiday Season Brings Big Developments for International Coal Financing

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 2:34 PM

Co-authored with Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program

While we were celebrating the start of the holiday season last week, there were a lot of big developments around the world to be thankful for, and a few to be wary of.

As the world turns its eyes to...

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The World's First Rural Feed-In Tariff?

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 9:51 AM

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How do we move clean energy access beyond just a light bulb?

With millions of dollars in new investment capping a record year for beyond the grid solar markets, that's the question many are now asking. This record investment...

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Despite Crackdown, Indian Courts Side With Public Health, Against Coal

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 3:46 PM

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In a huge victory for local communities, public health, and the rule of law, yet another enormous proposed coal plant has been denied clearance in India.

In another major setback for the expansion of the coal industry, a panel of judges rejected...

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Move Over World Bank: Bilateral Institutions Lead Investment Beyond the Grid

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 1:07 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Sierra Club Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access
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Photo courtesy of GSMA

While investments are continuing to flow into beyond the grid clean energy markets, most public institutions are missing in action.

The Sierra...

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Five Principles for Taming the Wild West of Beyond the Grid Clean Energy Policy

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 2:25 PM

Misguided and inappropriate safeguards threaten to handicap some of the most dynamic and innovative approaches to ending energy poverty for 1.3 billion people around the world.

That the findings of Sierra Club's latest report -- Expanding Energy Access: Beyond The Grid -- which proposes five policy principles...

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Millions in New Investment Cap Record Year for Beyond the Grid Solar Markets

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 3:01 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Sierra Club Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

It has been a record year for beyond the grid solar investment.

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Photo courtesy of OMC Power.

Over $45 million in investments have closed in the...

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Are U.S. Taxpayer Dollars Supporting Coal Industry Human Rights Violations Overseas?

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 10:32 AM

Co-authored with Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program
2014-10-20-Sasanandashpond.jpg The Sasan coal-fired power plan and coal ash pond. Photo courtesy of Nicole Ghio.

Today, a fact finding team of five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) -- the Sierra Club, 350.org, Carbon Market Watch,...

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Will the Export-Import Bank's Office of the Inspector General Ignore Human Rights Violations?

(0) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 12:23 PM

Co-authored by Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program
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The Harrahawa Village was relocated to make way for the Sasan coal ash pond. Photo courtesy of Nicole Ghio.

Sudarshan Rajak disappeared under suspicious circumstances after protesting the relocation of families for...

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Will a Dirty Coal Plant in Kosovo Spoil the Clean Energy Record of Dr. Kim and World Bank?

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 10:59 AM

Co-authored with Andrew Linhardt, Sierra Club Associate Washington Representative
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Light projection on the World Bank building in Washington DC Source: 350.org, 2013

For the fourth year in a row, the World Bank's investments are coal-free. But the real test of the...

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