Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Attending the Se4All Forum is crucial to the development and access to green energy technologies


The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum will take place next week in New York. Success in achieving sustainable development and tackling climate change challenges requires investment in clean energy solutions.

The UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can only be achieved if people have access to energy services. If more children were to go to School, you need that many more schools, or you would need bigger schools, which in either case would consume more energy. Energy is the fundamental resource that drive our water management strategies as well as food management strategies. Access to energy is the key, central, fundamental resource based on which all of our other needs and requirements create a super structure.

Just as poverty can acts as a benchmark, so can access to energy. The poor, in fact have little, if not a very eccentric supply of electricity. In fact, almost 1.3 billion people in the world do not have access to electricity. Of the 3 billion that have, the source of that electricity is extremely harmful, polluting, and thus unsustainable, such as burning charcoal and/or wood for cooking. Numerous studies have gone to show that access to electricity goes a long way towards poverty eradication, sustainable development and gender equality.

Having recognized the importance of sustainable, renewable energy, many countries have started moving on that road: Germany’s ‘Energiewende’, for example has set a target of 2050 for meeting 80% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources. Canada, has also recently followed suit, it has announced that it plans to be 100% reliant on renewable energy.

Although these targets can termed as ambitious they are, at the very least, forward looking and weave the dream of economic prosperity with sustainable developments and climate change mitigation.

There is meaningful development without sustainable energy
For the developing world, increased access to sustainable energy in an efficient economic manner, necessitates a range of actions to take place, including legal and policy changes that remove trade and technology barriers which will attract investments, enhancements of a wide range of skills and technology transfers. Over the last 20 years, with the UNDP having invested more than $400 million in 120 sustainable projects and having co-financed $1billion for such initiatives, what is crystal clear is that sustainable energy is a key component in sustainable human development.

Case in point: The UNDP’s collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Uruguay, has set off a boom in the development of sustainable energy. This has been achieved by systematically removing regulatory, financial and technological barriers that impeded the growth of this market and by bringing in private sector investments. 

By closely working with the National Administration of Power Plants and Energy Transmission (UTE), which manages the country’s supply of electricity, the UNDP helped it to refocus its energies on the wind and renewable energy sector and opened up the ‘space’ for the private sector, so that non-governmental investors can get involved through the public-private partnership route.

This also makes sense financially: the government’s initial investment of just $30 million has opened up a market valued at over $2 billion, with the private sector pouring in funds to capitalize on this boom. The result is that, Uruguay has established 32 wind farms of which 17 are already operational, with an installed capacity of 530MW.

Once the remaining 15 become operational, their total capacity will reach 1500MW. They would be supplying 30% of Uruguay’s electricity. The result is not just a technological shift in green energy, its ramifications are manifold ranging from economic benefits such as employment generation, reduction of import of fossil fuel, to obvious environmental ones such as reduction in pollution levels, global warming, and climate change.

The See4All Forum, that is taking place next week in New York, will highlight and showcase some of the supporting innovations and de-risk clean energy investment initiatives which have taken place so as to not only cement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also provide partnerships for others, so that no one is left behind.