Irene Maffini
Research student (SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit)


Crowdfunding public private partnerships (PPPs): a new policy tool to finance energy access projects in developing countries?

Access to clean and affordable energy is one of the most critical economic, environmental, and social challenges our nations face today. Approximately 1.2 billion people still have no access to electricity and the IEA estimates an investment gap of $48 billion a year by 2030 to alleviate energy poverty. The private sector, including citizens, have a critical role in financing this gap, but they face significant barriers to engagement with projects offering financial returns, as well as high social and environmental impacts, such as energy access projects in developing countries. 

Innovative financing mechanisms that address these barriers are needed and crowdfunding has emerged as a new financial technology (‘fintech’) innovation with the potential to catalyse and leverage investment from both public and private sources, and provide societal support for clean energy projects.

In her PHD thesis, Irene is investigating the different roles that the international development agencies play in crowdfunding energy access partnerships with private sector and civil society actors. Her research goals are to establish whether crowdfunding and PPPs are promising policy tools to catalyse, complement and augment private-sector investment in energy access projects in developing countries and what role the state should play is in these partnerships.