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A Brighter Tomorrow for Mongolia’s Energy Sector


  • Mongolia is ready for renewable energy, but long-standing challenges persist.
  • Thinking and Working Politically approaches boost political will for energy transitions.
  • Abt’s integrated approach is facilitating investment and resilient governance for Mongolia’s energy sector.
The Challenge

Mongolia’s electricity and heating sectors face numerous challenges, including a reliance on coal-fired plants and antiquated infrastructure that struggles to meet demand. Limited reserve capacity means the government often must import expensive power from Russia and China. The coal industry’s outsized influence has hindered the adoption of renewable energy, despite the country’s abundant solar and wind resources. Meanwhile, informal settlements in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, are growing rapidly but without access to sufficient electricity. This means more people are burning cheap and dirty coal for heat, contributing to some of the world’s worst air quality, leading to poor health outcomes.

The Approach

Mongolia’s potential to harness renewable energy and its government’s goal of becoming an energy exporter provide rich ground on which to advance energy reforms and attract international investors. To grow support for the transition to clean, renewable energy, the Abt-led USAID Mongolia Energy Governance Activity is using a Thinking and Working Politically approach to understand how people interact with the energy sector and to build broad coalitions around politically sensitive reforms.

USAID MEG’s activities include mobilizing investment for clean energy projects to bring in additional electricity generation capacity, in part by promoting supportive legislation. This includes promoting the use of advanced energy generation and management technologies and increasing economic resilience to natural and human-induced shocks (including cyberattacks). Our approach promotes the integration of women and youth into Mongolia’s heating and energy sectors by targeting them in their three primary roles—as users, as employees, and as policymakers.

The Results

Abt and USAID MEG are enabling Mongolia’s private sector to drive job creation and economic growth in the energy sector while reducing pollution, ultimately leading to a self-reliant energy sector.