Renewable Energy: Powering Development

The ‘war’ on terrorism has highlighted extreme levels of poverty and the gaps between the haves and the have-nots within and between countries.

The World Today Published 1 March 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

Sarah Espenhahn

Consultant, Future of Energy Solutions, AEA Technology

Gill Wilkins

Energy has a key role in development – it is vital for all forms of activity, from households through to industries and infrastructure. While its importance for economic development at the national and regional level is widely recognised, the links to poverty reduction at local and individual levels are not so well understood. As a result, energy provision is often a late addition to aid programmes, if included at all.

At the individual or household level, there are important links between activities in the household, with cottage industry and microenterprise development, and with socially productive services such as health and education. For example, an old broken down bus has been converted into a general shop in a remote rural area of South Africa, with solar electricity running lighting and a stereo and bottled gas allowing non-electric ironing.

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