UN and US-based agency to seek renewable energy sites in poor countries
Continuing its bid to pinpoint the most promising sites for renewable energy in some of the world’s poorest countries, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced a new collaboration with one of the world’s leading “green energy” research centres.
The new joint project with United States-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory widens the ambit of UNEP’s current project to create high-quality solar and wind maps for 13 countries by adding the Maldives to that list. It also broadens the existing plan to map Bangladesh.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer welcomed the agreement, which will expand the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment programme. “Delivering cleaner and less-polluting forms of energy to poorer parts of the world is absolutely crucial for fighting poverty and helping to reduce emissions of pollutants linked with global warming,” he stressed.
The programme is part of a “Group of Eight” initiative to provide renewable energy to a billion extra people in an attempt to limit environmental damage since “those without access to electricity are forced to fell trees for firewood and cooking fuel, accelerating impacts such as soil erosion and the loss of the world’s wildlife,” explained Mr. Toepfer.
“While the costs of renewable energies like solar and wind have been tumbling in recent years, obstacles remain to their widespread deployment, particularly in developing countries,’ he said. The programme will also “bridge the knowledge gap so that potential investors can know, with a great deal of accuracy, the locations where they can secure a good and reasonable return.”