Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ethiopia's renewable energy revolution shouldn't fail to empower its poor

(Jan 31, 2014, (The Guardian))--Large-scale clean energy projects shouldn't eclipse the urgent need to provide electricity to low-income and rural communities. The 84 wind turbines erected just south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, tower above an arid landscape of grassland and unpaved roads, inhabited mostly by small-scale farmers, who – along with 77% of population – lack access to electricity.

The Ashegoda wind farm, launched in November, will produce an estimated 400 GWh of electricity per year, and forms just one piece of the Ethiopian government's strategy to harness indigenous energy resources for development.

When – and to what extent – the country's rural population will benefit depends on striking a balance between investing in new grid-connected generation and effective strategies for expanding access. Ethiopia today stands at a crossroads. In 2012, it had the world's 12th fastest growing economy (pdf).

Unlike many industrialised nations, however, Ethiopia has made clear that renewable energy will be a key economic driver, emphasising green growth and clean energy as integral to growth and transformation plan (pdf), a five-year strategy to reduce poverty and spur national development. Read more from The Guardian » 

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