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Off-grid industry welcomes UN initiative for sustainable energy in developing countries

World’s only electrification alliance approves plan to supply power to rural areas and help combat poverty

The initiative aims increase electricity supply to developing countries
The initiative aims increase electricity supply to developing countries

The Alliance for Rural Electrification (Are) has welcomed an initiative that aims to increase access to off-grid renewable energy in developing countries. Are has welcomed the United Nation’s International Year of Sustainable Energy for All as an initiative that will increase awareness around energy access and provide a strong incentive for new investments.

Are is the world’s only trade association that represents the off-grid renewables industry operating in developing countries. The alliance is also the only international business association in the world to focus on the promotion and the development of small scale renewable energy solutions for rural electrification in developing countries.

Ernesto Macias, Are president, said any initiative that supports environmentally and economically sustainable solutions to the energy poverty issue should be supported.

“This initiative is a clear sign from decision-makers that energy access is set to become a priority on the global political agenda,” he said. “For Are’s members it is also an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of off-grid renewables to supply electricity to rural areas of developing countries, where 80 per cent of the world’s 1.4bn people without access to electricity currently live. A lot of policy work and support remain to be done but this initiative is an important step in the right direction.”

ARE also welcomes the acknowledgement by the UN’s secretary-general of the essential role the private sector can play in developing and marketing sustainable energy products, such as through public private partnerships.

Macias said: “Sustainable energy for all will only be possible through business-driven solutions for technologies such as small PV, small wind and small hydro, ideal in areas where grid extension is often too expensive.

“These areas represent a whole market yet to be fully tapped by the private sector. But there are already some early birds as demonstrated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance's recent study.”

The study concluded that the fastest investment growth in renewable energies will be seen in the rapidly developing economies of India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Projected growth rates are expected of 10 per cent to 18 per cent each year up to 2020.