Welcome to the last episode of our long-read series on Energy for Good!
Today we talk about Productive Uses of Energy (PUE) – or, in other words, how energy can support and foster economic growth in developing countries.
As in the other episodes, if you are reading this from a country with reliable access to energy, we challenge you to stop for a second and think: what if I did not have energy to light up my shop? What if I could not charge my laptop? How would I work in a processing unit without energy for the machines?
Lack of energy is an obstacle to full exploitation of a community’s potential: it hampers efforts from youth to bring innovative ideas to life, is a threat to families’ reliable income and slows down the overall effort towards development. In fact, energy is often considered a pre-requisite for economic development, and right now we are in the midst of a global increase of its cost.
That is because fossil fuels exploitation is no longer sustainable, and the transition to clean energy is slow, and expensive.
Good news though! There are many solutions that can be used on the ground to promote the switch to clean energy, which in turn offers a reliable, continuous and safe provision of energy to fuel productive activities on the ground.
We think that renewable energy mini-grids are the most viable solution to provide clean, safe and reliable access to electricity in remote areas of developing countries, as they can guarantee a level of service equal to a national grid connection for households and businesses alike. In addition, single productive appliances directly powered by photovoltaic are increasingly available, such as solar mills and solar water pumps.
By choosing to switch to clean energy, communities gain two birds with a stone: on one hand they have an essential element to economic development, on the other they contribute to wider efforts to mitigate climate change.
Emissions from fossil fuels, diesel generators and other forms of combustibles, in fact, are detrimental for the environment, dangerous for those who use them and to those who are exposed to them. They also contribute to air pollution, in areas already disproportionally hit by the effects of the climate crisis.
So as we bring this cycle to a close, we hope the purpose of our series is now clear: energy is at the centre of development, it cannot be forgotten, and it should not be looked at individually. SDGs are linked, and mutually reinforcing: so should be the programmes we implement.
Together for the achievement of all SDGs!