Right this minute; a woman somewhere in rural sub-Saharan Africa is on a long trek. Not because she’s part of a nomadic tribe or visiting a neighbouring village but because she has to do something that many of us with modern conveniences take for granted – cook for her family. This woman represents the reality of about 3 billion of the world’s population who cook meals over an open fire everyday. People who just need an easier way to get things done. Showcased in the Network’s Solutions Database along with other low-tech projects, the Ezy stove does just that.
Availability of reliable, low-cost energy is the cornerstone of economic development and is a primary limiting factor for many developing countries. We share knowledge on an energy sector which is undergoing massive change with new technologies that will provide cheaper, more accessible and cleaner energy.
Kenya is a first in many a renewable energy innovation. The country houses a number of solar-energy innovations that touch on, among other sectors, agriculture and the retail sector. Agriculture, being the backbone of the Kenyan economy, and an employer of 75% or thereabouts of the entire country’s workforce, remains an important sector in the country. The IEA observes that by 2050, solar energy could be the top source of electricity, generating up to 16% of the world's electricity - Kenya is certainly not an exception to these statistics.
Living off the grid, without access to stable electricity, carries consequences beyond simply not being able to switch on the lights at night. In hospitals and clinics across developing regions, the inability to rely on electricity — or a complete lack thereof — translates into profound shortcomings in the provision of life-saving treatments. William Steel interviewed Julia Römer for Cleanleap, Julia co-founded Coolar in 2014, with the goal to develop a better solution for off-grid refrigeration of medical supplies.
Intasave, a not-for-profit and environmental enterprise is planning to use scalable nanogrid solar power systems to bring clean, reliable and affordable power to about 500 communities and 250,000 people in Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique within three years. After raising the initial US$100,000 through crowdfunding, construction of the hubs is already underway in villages in Kenya.
Smallholder farming is primarily characterized by differentially low incomes, in particular the poor sub-Saharan African farmers. Closely tied to this are the high proportion of farmers income spent on their energy needs, both at the domestic and crop-production level. There is essentially a correlation between income levels and access to clean modern energy. In Kenya, the energy situation could be getting better, with a social enterprise that invests in an end-to-end solution for smallholder farmers, Takamoto Biogas is tackling the fundamental global problems of deforestation and climate change.
The World Banks off grid solar initiative, Lighting Global, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have recently launched the third publication of its type – an in depth analysis of the trends for 2016 global off grid solar power market. The report examines a relatively new market and provides valuable insights into the rapid technological changes to ensure low cost, clean electricity for all. The report highlights the key driving concern that over 1.2 billion people lack access to the power grid, which means they spend around $27 billion on expensive fossil fuel based technology.
Clean tech companies are nowadays coming up with innovative products to address the global energy and climate challenge, and most African countries are among the beneficiaries though there are still extra miles to go to reach the set targets. Cleanleap has interacted with Powerspot about a prototype that they recently designed and manufactured to help provide access to electricity. What has been the feedback about their prototype in Africa? Is it reliable? Find out more details in this article.
The time to shape the future generations mind about what our environment needs and how to do it, is right now. We will help raise awareness about the issues, whether it is increasing renewable energy generation, reducing environmental pollution, or merely increasing forest coverage to offer good dwelling places for animals and ourselves. The UNEP We have the Power painting competition seeks to do this for our future generations.
As the world population increases and modern amenities become available to developing countries, the desires and needs of these emerging economies are logically changing. In particular, air conditioning and ventilation have become essential for both domestic and commercial use throughout the developing world. However, we understand that this sudden upsurge in cooling needs has both financial and environmental costs.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently released their 10th Annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. The report examines investment in renewable energy technologies such as waste to energy, geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, tidal and small hydropower at a country level. An exciting trend was that developing countries investment exceeded the spend of developed countries for the first time.