Renewable Energy Makes A Better Life for Displaced Nigerians
Our first example of Un projects are the water boreholes that are currently helping to a better life for Nigerians relocated by the conflict, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Approximately two million people in the north-east of the West African country have fled their homes as a result of continuing attacks by armed insurgent teams; some of them live in 63 sites regulated by humanitarian organizations in the town of Maiduguri.
One of the relocated Nigerians is 35-year-old Sainna, a farmer before he escaped into Cameroon after his village, Gamboru, was attacked. Living in Gubio camp at Maiduguri, he’s been given the responsibility to maintain water infrastructure and the solar panels that power it.
Six years continuously, north-east Nigeria remains steeped in battle. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), almost two million people remain internally displaced in the states of Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno, and 7.7 million need humanitarian aid, including 4.1 million kids.
Once security is restored, Sainna longs to return to Gamboru. However, in the meantime, he spends his days in Gubio taking care of his family and other IDPs. When he first came, the IOM staff observed he had a knack for carpentry, so he had been hired to help repair shelters.
Later, Sainna started to repair showers and restrooms. Later took over the maintenance of the water points in Gubio, where IOM maintains a borehole that provides safe and clean water to over 6,000 people.
Water supply is essential to maintain good hygiene inside the camp and camp-like settings. Communities regularly participate in sensitization sessions in camps where they discover how handwashing limits the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
IOM teams are now changing how this information was spread to camp residents, substituting the usual sessions, which are organized in large groups with door-to-door visits to limit the chances of community spread at the camp in the case of an outbreak.
Daily, 25,000 liters of water are consumed through four water points, and the average resident consumes 15 liters every day. These boreholes are powered by solar energy, assuring a cheap and steady supply of water for the community without negatively impacting the environment.
The facilities require to be cleaned and monitored regularly, making sure the dust does not collect on the solar panels, mainly during harmattan. Regional committees of camp occupants jointly maintain 34 latrines and 51 showers, keeping them in good condition.
Over time the community takes ownership of the facilities. Everybody ensures that things like the water pump aren’t stolen or misused.
Clean Energy is Accelerating Sustainable Development in East Africa
The second UN renewable energy and human settlements program, UN-Habitat, and Portuguese energy organization EDP are building a solar energy system to provide 12 classrooms that have been constructed to endure 180 km per hour winds – with green, renewable energy.
This will have a significant impact on the community because allowing some 1,300 students to study at night, people residing in the area will, for a small fee, have the ability to access the net and charge their mobile phones.
They may stand a better chance of surviving when the next floods and cyclones hit the country: Mozambique has built an early-warning method, with SMS alerts sent by the government, though this only works in communities having access to energy.
“Till the time you can offer this service in a school, people will have access to communication with the external world, that’s the handicap when an emergency occurs, reports Juan Hurtato Martinez, director and UN-Habitat architect of the project. It assures that, in an emergency, they can receive the alarms immediately.
Scaling Up Across Africa
However the purpose for the project arises from EDPs philanthropic Arm, the business sees it as a reasonable investment in Africa, in keeping with the UN’s demand for companies to play their role in the switch to a “green market,” that isn’t reliant on fossil fuels like gas and coal.
The African continent is obviously the continent with organic resources — like biomass, wind, water, the sun, and others — which enable the use of renewable energies. It makes sense to intervene in the marketplace that has the needs and which has resources.
Around 600 million people in Africa have no access to electricity. It is shown that renewable energies can allow, in a faster, cheaper, and more efficient approach, universal energy access is achieved.
Namacurra’s district’s project is just one of six in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, which will receive support from EDP. At the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, which accommodated over 186,000 people, a mini-grid will deliver pay-as-you-go electricity to refugees according to their consumption needs. It’s a fascinating approach that could be replicated throughout the camp. It may be implemented in other refugee camps, not only in the Horn of Africa but all over the world.
Sustainability as a Business Opportunity
In the 2018 EDP, the company decided to spend $12 million in companies currently working with renewable energy in East Africa. They’re not as profitable as traditional EDP companies, but this is a journey, and they’re presently discovering how the method develops. So, within the next few years, when they’re ready, we can invest in more organizations and develop them in preparation for entry into other markets.
The potential is huge: renewable energy technology is becoming better, more resilient, and more efficient. There’s also an abundance of mechanics and funding from the global community and countries to support these projects. Everything is set up for its growth, and the private sector must enter this market.
What Will Support The Post-Pandemic Global Economic Recovery?
Infrastructures on Islands
In island markets, importing fossil fuels, such as gasoline and oil, Comes at a cost. This is one reason that some of them are getting front-runners in the bid to decrease carbon footprints by investing in renewable energy resources.
For example, Mauritius is planning to create over a third of its electricity from renewable sources in the next five years. Projects backed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will be an essential part of this transition, bringing an extra 25 Megawatts of solar energy to Mauritius, such as a mini-power grid in Agalega, among the outer islands.
As well as lessening pollution, this move to clean energy is expected to support economic recovery, with new jobs in regions such as the installation, production, and maintenance of renewable energy tools, from solar panels to wind turbines and batteries.
Another advantage is energy security: with such a high dependency on imported oil, price changes can make budgeting challenges, and any interruption can have serious effects. “Home-grown” energy by renewable sources can make the energy grid more resilient and more reliable.
Hawaii’s Pacific US State is planning to go further and become a trailblazer for the rest of the US, by going completely renewable by 2045. As Hawaii State Governor, David Ige, reported to UN News, their commitment is now reaching to the mainstream: “at the time we passed the legislation to commit to 100 percent renewables, no other community had done anything similar, and at the National Governors’ Association, people were usually shocked.
They believed that it was so beyond possible that it was a foolish step. California has supported the commitment to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, and other states are considering doing the same. I’m proud that Hawaii has truly inspired other states and communities.”
Time to Change the Entire Energy System
As economies recover post-pandemic, embracing these examples will be required to turn the tide and, as a new report from REN21 — a renewable energy think tank which contains the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) among its members — reveals, remarkable progress was made by the renewable energy sector, where prices are decreasing, and fresh energy use is growing.
However, the fact currently offsets this good news that global energy usage is rising and has been powered, in the main, by fossil fuels. Following the launch of this report, on 16 June, Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Director, indicated that the pandemic-related emissions fall barely makes a dent in the long-term issue of climate change, and an overhaul of the whole energy system is required:
“Even if the lockdowns were to last for a decade, the shift would not be sufficient. At the present rate, with the current system and current market principles, it might take the world forever to come anywhere close to a no-carbon system”.
The report warns that restoration programs include responsibilities to stick with dirty fossil fuel systems: while some countries are currently phasing out coal, others continue to invest in new coal-fired power plants. Moreover, funds from private banks for fossil fuel projects have increased every year since the signing of the 2015 Paris climate deal, totaling some USD 2.7 trillion over the past three years.
“Some straight promote natural gas, oil, or coal. Others, though maintaining a green focus, build the roof and avoid the foundation,” warned Ms. Adib. “Take hydrogen and electric cars, for example. These technologies are only green if powered by renewable sources.”
Clean is Economical
Nevertheless, Hawaii and Mauritius reveal an option is possible, but a better deal than a fossil-fuel-based restoration program when the costs, including climate change impacts, air pollution, and traffic congestion, are factored in.
A new publication from Innovation, Technology Transfer, and the World Bank for low-carbon development, reveals that the majority of the emissions reductions required to maintain global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial amounts, can be achieved if existing, commercially recognized low-carbon technology is adopted on a big scale.
As the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen describes, “renewables are more cost-effective than ever, providing a chance to prioritize clean financial recovery packages and bring the world closer to fulfilling the Paris Agreement Goals. Renewables are an integral pillar of a healthy, green, and safe COVID-19 recovery, which leaves no one behind.”
When Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020 from UNEP, The Frankfurt School, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, were published in June, it further emphasized the plummeting prices of clean energy, highlighting the fact, “Putting this money into renewables will purchase more generation capacity than ever before,” and help countries deliver on stronger climate actions.
“If governments take benefit of this ever-falling price label of renewables to put clean energy in the core of COVID -19 economic recovery, rather than promoting the recovery of fossil-fuel sectors”, said Ms. Andersen, “they could have a large step towards clean energy and a healthy world, which is the best insurance policy for global pandemics.”
A Possibility for a Cleaner World
The economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant drop in greenhouse emissions and, as per International Energy Agency (IEA), 2020, will notice a fall of around eight percent.
This has provided us an idea of what a world may look like. It’s just a temporary respite: it has also had devastating outcomes, including the shuttering of intact sectors, and unemployment for millions of people.
With countries and regions like Hawaii and Mauritius investing in Policies, initiatives, and programs to get people back to work, there is a possibility for a more sustainable approach, with technologies in its heart. The question is if the global community will take this opportunity or stick with the devil, they know.