Clean Energy

Study shows that renewable energy investment could end poverty, unemployment

renewable energy - cleanbuild

Currently, there are 3.6 billion people who lack access to energy. This means that nearly half of the population of the world does not have access to stable electricity or in worst cases, none at all.

The majority of these people are in Asia and Africa; however, innovative technologies have made renewable energy the cheapest option for new power supply in more than two-thirds of the world.

In light of this, the Rockefeller Foundation’s new study shows that investment in renewable energy systems is able to generate 30 times more jobs opportunities and save 4 billion tons of carbon emissions in comparison to fossil fuel options.

The study titled “Transforming a Billion Lives: The Job Creation Potential From a Green Power Transition in the Energy-Poor World” further reveals that the investment will bring an end to poor energy while creating 25 million available jobs in the power sector in the most affected countries which is mostly Asia and Africa by 2030, while also saving 4 billion tons of carbon emissions.

Per the report, 61% of these jobs would be related to modest grid-tied systems which could be a service to small size businesses or related small enterprises who are into activities such as milling, carpentry, or tailoring.

But investing in fossil fuels during the same time will create less than half a million direct jobs of which the majority will not be permanent according to the study. The calculations show that green power transformation in the energy-starved world could create job opportunities with an investment of $130 billion annually.

Apart from available jobs, the power sector will provide, it will also create nearly 500 million job opportunities in agriculture, health care, education, and small and medium-sized enterprises ( SMEs) while moving the energy-poor countries into a green transformation in the upcoming decade.

The report further combines qualitative account with an expected economic model to draw the job opportunity possibilities that could flow from a fast increase in investment in DRE across the 63 energy-poor countries in Asia and Africa.

Also, it explores a “what if” scheme by trying to look at what it would take to notably scale up access to distributed renewable energy ( DRE) systems to put an end to poor energy across poor energy countries and set in motion a green energy transformation.

This new research carried out by Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors and then reviewed by IKEA Foundation, International Renewable Energy Agency ( IRENA), International Solar Alliance, and Sustainable Energy for All ( SeforAll) emphasizes how the economic and investment case has overturned in favor of technologies that offer renewables.

This will require scaling up the clean energy mini-grid systems to electrify solar lanterns, ice manufacturing communities which fishing communities are using, milk chillers and irrigation pumps for farmers, refrigerators and medical equipment for clinics and hospitals, etc.

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, the president of Rockefeller Foundation said, “The world is at a crossroads. Fortunately, technological advances have given humanity the tools for transformative change, so for the first time in history, we can address the climate crisis while empowering people with the jobs and electricity they need to care for their families, pursue opportunities, and thrive. We must now find the courage, and the resources, to come together and change how the world works and how people live.  Nothing less will do.”

According to a comprehensive assessment of 75 “ productive uses”, the account examines 8 economic sectors which are agriculture production, animal production and preservation, food and agriculture processing, essential goods and services
provision, mobility, heavy industries, large and medium enterprise, and small and micro-enterprises.

Downstream applications could provide 491 million additional jobs and 671 million already available jobs could boost with the presence of clean, dependable energy.

Half of these jobs are situated in South Asia, mostly in India, a quarter of it in the Sub-Saharan African region; and another quarter in the East Asia and Pacific region. With this, 4 billion tons of carbon emissions could be abated, this is equivalent to the 726 million homes using electricity per year, compared to a fully dependent fossil fuels pathway.

Also put to mind that the distributed renewable energy is more cost-effective for power supply footpath taking over the markets space, this is a contrast to the cost of fossil fuels.

CEO of IKEA Foundation Per Heggenes disclosed that over the past decade, distributed and renewable energy technologies have been rapidly replacing fossil fuels as the most cost-effective building blocks for powering economic development.”

Heggenes also said that DREs have become a really fast and more cost-effective solution for fostering inclusive growth, therefore, reach underserved populations, as the points, these regions also have a good potential to be at the center of a global energy transformation which is quite needed.

It was announced early this year by Rockefeller Foundation and IKEA Foundation in a partnership to lay the bedrock for the global energy alliance to tackle climate change and poor energy. They each committed $50 million which makes it the biggest philanthropic initiative to foster renewable energy for fair energy transformation and the world’s economic development.

“Access to energy transforms every facet of life, with reliable electricity often the first step toward helping a community lift itself out of poverty. Decentralized Renewable Energy solutions are a particularly powerful engine for economic development creating jobs and opportunities to empower women and girls,” said CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, Damilola Ogunbiyi.

To access the full report, click here.

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