Clean energy alone will not raise the bar for poor nations – we must invest in people – global issues

Solar panels generate energy that farmers pump water to irrigate their gardens in Pintadas, in the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS
  • Opinion by Philip Benoit
  • Interpress service

construction Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) Welcome news. But when it comes to generating the greatest benefit for the poor, clean electricity financing must be complemented by a significant investment in the people themselves – an investment designed to enable them to make the best use of these clean electrons to increase their families’ income and advance. from poverty. This is a trend that has already been included in the proposed GEAPP approach and that needs continued focus during implementation.

GEAPP is a multi-billion dollar program to help shift the energy system to renewables, with a focus on developing countries. He. She “It aims to expand clean energy use and productivity to the 1 billion unserved people, create tens of millions of green jobs, and avoid over 4 billion tons of emissions.. “A key component is investments to build distributed renewable energy systems that can be set up quickly and are located close to consumers in poor, often rural communities. Improving the lives of citizens is a major goal.

However, we can easily be distracted by the amount of money proposed to build clean energy systems and forget that electricity, by itself, will not overcome poverty. Appropriately, GEAPP refers to the new jobs in renewables and other clean energy businesses that its investments will generate.

Importantly, it also emphasizes the greater number of jobs it will create or improve in other sectors (such as agriculture and manufacturing) by rapidly providing access to electricity for small businesses and other end users from nearby distributed generation systems. Giving more electricity to the energy deprived It will also produce health, education, safety and other benefits.

For all these reasons, the GIPP is an important anti-poverty as well as climate initiative, and its multibillion-dollar mass is not only impressive, but what is needed.

The world’s poorest, unfortunately, often lack the tools to turn electrons into income. The obstacles they face include a lack of technical skills to select, operate and maintain the most appropriate equipment; lack of knowledge about creating micro-enterprises; Not knowing how to grow these companies into small and medium-sized businesses that can employ more people; More importantly, the inability to get credit to purchase new equipment and other assets to grow their business.

Taking advantage of newly supplied clean electricity, poor entrepreneurs looking to start a business or expand an existing venture will need support in answering a variety of potential questions. Is there a potential market for a new tire repair shop? What equipment makes the most sense to buy, and is it available and affordable? With new access to locally available, more reliable and cheaper electricity, does it make sense to expand the business from home? Where can small business owners or even small business owners get the money to exploit that new distributed renewable electricity they are getting now? Are there credit centers nearby and how to apply for a loan? Does stable internet access backed by a reliable renewable electricity source open opportunities? To answer these and countless other potential questions, many disadvantaged entrepreneurs need help.

To help them overcome these challenges, entrepreneurs will benefit from targeted capacity building and other assistance programs. This support often needs to cover soft skills, as well as help with equipment and money. Just as there have been agricultural extension programs to help farmers, we need electricity extension programs to help entrepreneurs who are under-resourced.

Vocational, technical, and similar training programs, as well as mentorship, partnerships and twinning arrangements with more established companies, are helpful. Moreover, it is important to provide these services to end users, rather than requiring them to travel long distances, often to reach difficult urban centres. Distributed renewable generation needs to be mirrored by distributed training programs, along with local credit and equipment centers that provide support to users in their communities.

These initiatives will not overcome all barriers to poverty alleviation (such as limited markets that can restrict employment opportunities in many poor rural communities), but they can help.

The Comprehensive Action Plan for Private Sector Development (GEAPP) has the breadth and ambition to implement programs to support the necessary expansion capabilities on a large scale. The billions that will be invested in building new distributed renewables and other clean energy systems must be accompanied by a huge investment in strengthening the capacity of poor end users themselves.

However, experience has shown that it is often difficult to enhance soft skills and successfully enable disadvantaged families to build electrical systems. Success will require not only large amounts of funding but also a large number of people on the ground in communities and complementary policies and programs for the poor.

GEAPP plans for Working with local partners in each market Involving development banks and other implementing partners can help lay the necessary foundation for progress on these fronts. Maintaining focus and commitment on softer capacities and program areas for people living in poverty will be important even as GAPP funds its large-scale investments to reconfigure the electricity system itself.

Enhancing the ability of the poor to convert electrons from renewable sources to sources of income and that other economic and social developments help these families produce a better future. GEAPP provides a potentially powerful platform to advance this effort. Actual implementation will be key and empowering those living in poverty must remain a focus.

First published in The Hill on November 17, 2021

Philip Benoit He has more than 25 years of experience working on international development and energy issues, including management positions at the World Bank and the International Energy Agency. He is currently the Managing Director of Energy and Sustainability with Global Infrastructure Consulting Services 2050.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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