How clean energy can power recovery from the crisis

Published on: 22/06/2020

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ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

How clean energy can power recovery from the crisis

 

As the world faces a new challenge, a comprehensive and collaborative response is necessary to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on people’s livelihoods. Renewable energy solutions could be a key part of the solution, helping low-income countries prepare, respond and recover from the crisis.

Energy for households and health centres is critical in fighting COVID-19, yet in underserved regions, electricity is unreliable or non-existent. In sub-Saharan Africa, 570 million people do not have electricity, and one in four clinics do not have energy [1].

Clean energy can provide safe, affordable and reliable solutions for essential services, such as healthcare, water and food supply, around the clock:

 

·    Renewable energy can address some of the health risks that make low-income communities more vulnerable to respiratory diseases. As nearly half the world relies on polluting fuels and inefficient stoves for cooking, using clean fuels and energy-efficient stoves can protect these people in their own homes. Initiatives such as the Myanmar Stoves Campaign and Colorado State University project are already addressing this need in thousands of households.

 

·       It can ensure food security, enabling food cold chains and powering water pumps, providing reliable access to clean water, which is the mission of the TRANSFORM-supported project Sunlight Water Centres.

 

·     Access to energy can enable social distancing, as it can power technology and devices that enable people to receive information, stay in touch with one another and engage in online education.

 

·      It serves as fuel for economic recovery. There are over 11 million people worldwide employed in the renewables sector, a number set to rise to 42 million by 2050 [2]. It also boosts local economies, with off-grid energy systems helping small businesses thrive and offering potential sources for additional income.

 

According to the World Economic Forum, a ‘green stimulus’ could accelerate the energy transition and boost the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 [3]. Policymakers have an opportunity to make an intentional clean energy transition, helping mitigate climate change, improve society and help fulfil the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For example, IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) has launched a Coalition for Action, calling on governments at all levels to leverage the progress achieved with renewable energy and stay focused on the efforts needed to accomplish the targets of global climate and sustainability.

Having already been recognised with an award of excellence for its efforts in SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, TRANSFORM supports impactful projects that provide safe, reliable energy to low-income households.

Aligned with one of TRANSFORM’s pillars, Energy & Environment, Ubuntu Power, ENVenture, d.light, D2D Pro and Digital Agents for Energy+ are some examples of businesses that are meeting the energy needs of the Base of the Pyramid.