Action Not Words: 100% Renewable Energy for Development
While governments are gathering in New York to discuss climate change for the first time after five years of inaction, the necessary transition is already underway around the world: Hundreds of jurisdictions across the globe have set 100% renewable energy (RE) targets and are leading the journey toward a fossil- and nuclear-free society. A society, independent from energy systems that are powered by increasingly expensive and unsustainable fossil fuel resources and instead powered fully by abundant, local, and affordable renewable energy sources.
This is especially good news for those countries where the lack of electricity is hindering development for billions of people. Examples from around the world demonstrate that this trend can be reversed if countries turn to decentralised renewable energy systems. These can reach communities much faster than expanding existing, inefficient central grid systems, new business models emerge and offer immediate improvements to people’s lives.
Ending the fossil fuel era is doable
Bangladesh is one example of how a 100% renewable energy strategy can be a cost-effective solution to meet energy needs regardless of economic strength or GDP. The Government has established a goal of increasing electricity access in rural Bangladesh to 100%. This goal is being implemented almost exclusively with the use of solar home systems (SHS) due to economic advantages. With the continued decline in solar module costs, the high cost of transmission and distribution infrastructure, and the persistently high costs of diesel for power generation and of other fossil fuels used for lighting such as kerosene, Bangladesh has decided on the widespread deployment of onsite solar home systems (SHS).
Bangladesh now features a well-established supply chain of local installers, suppliers, and lenders supporting the deployment of SHS to the country’s poorest residents. There are now over 2 million solar home systems in Bangladesh, making it one of the largest markets in the world for distributed solar PV deployment. Recent estimates indicate that there are approximately 40,000 rural families receiving a new system every month, and a target has been set to achieve a total of 2,5 Million SHS by the end of 2014. Most systems installed range from 10W to 135W, and cost less than USD $1.000. Assuming an average system size of approximately 50W, this translates into a total installed solar PV capacity in the country of over 100MW. This far-reaching initiative has been facilitated through a number of international partnerships, turning Bangladesh into a leading example of harnessing renewable energy sources to improve access to modern and sustainable energy services.
But Bangladesh is not an individual case: Other examples such as the 100% RE strategy of Cape Verde, the Micro Power Economy Project in the Senegalese village Sine Moussa Abdou, the solar-power micro grid in Dharnai village in Bihar, India and the 100% RE project in the Indonesian island Sumba amplify how 100% renewable energy can meet two policy objectives: development and climate action.
In New York, governments have the task to enable this transition that has started, to improve the quality of life for millions of people, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and help forge a world that is more just toward both current and future generations.
Let us join forces for the Climate Summit and beyond to ensure that ignorance and in-action are no longer an option! We ask Heads of States to pledge 100% RE as centrepiece of a climate action plan. We need action not words. Check out how you can get involved and engage in the discussions on www.Facebook.com/Global100RE and www.Twitter.com/Global100RE.
Sunday, September 14th, 2014