Renewable Energy in Canada Renewable energy currently amounts to around 18.9% of Canada’s energy supply and more than half of its electricity generation. Nonrenewable sources of energy like natural gas and petroleum make up a majority, at 35.7% and 38.7% respectively, but private and public organizations are working to shrink the disparity. Renewable energy in Canada primarily comes from hydropower plants the country has established on its vast system of rivers. Quebec generates the most renewable energy of any province — 40,000 MW on hydropower alone, according to the Government of Canada.

Now, the expanding renewable energy industry is poised to make energy more affordable, fight unemployment, and strengthen diplomatic relationships between Canada and other countries.

How Renewable Energy in Canada Can Make Energy More Affordable

Renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy available. It is cheaper to build infrastructure for and generate power than nonrenewable sources. This remains true even without the government-provided subsidies that companies which businesses in the nonrenewable energy industry typically receive.

In recent years, Canada has committed to subsidizing renewables after signing the Paris Agreement, which set a goal for countries around the world to eventually become carbon neutral.

Currently, energy in Canada is the most expensive in the provinces and territories that are the most impoverished. Nunavut has the second priciest electricity — costing $0,37.5 per kilowatt in 2021. No official reports on poverty exist for Nunavut, but the Canadian government concluded that the residents of Nunavut live in some of the poorest conditions and 37% of households there struggled with food insecurity.

Nunavut is largely made up of scattered, remote and scarcely populated communities. This combined with difficult geography makes it challenging to build centralized energy infrastructure. Thus, most people living in Nunavut rely on expensive diesel power generators and burning fuel oil to power and heat their homes.

Renewable energy has shown some promise in Nunavut. Hydropower provides a third of the energy available in the territory. On average, hydropower costs around $0.80 per kilowatt, which is nearly five times less expensive than the average energy bill.

Currently, most people in Nunavut are not able to take advantage of cheaper renewable options because there are no regional or territorial energy grids in the territory. Still, indigenous groups are fighting to bring renewable energy to their communities and make energy more affordable.

Recently, the Canadian government approved grants to provide $1.6 million to indigenous-led projects that will build solar panels, geothermal heating technology and energy storage infrastructures in remote Nunavut villages.

The Economic Advantages of Expanding Renewable Energy in Canada

The focus on renewable energy in Canada also opens new opportunities for Canadian businesses to grow and expand in international trade.

Due to historical success and $200 million from the government, businesses are constantly emerging in the Canadian renewable energy sector. One such company is the Ontario-based NRStor Inc., which builds energy storage devices for renewables. The company has most notably worked on the Oneida Energy Storage Project, alongside the Six Nations of the Grand River. The project could save Canadians $760 million and be the largest battery energy storage facility in Canada.

The Canadian government reports that Indigenous Canadians are more likely to live in poverty than other groups in the country. This project will create internship, training and employment opportunities for Canada’s indigenous community, according to Six Nations Future.

The exporting of renewable energy internationally is an important source of profit for many of these companies. In 2014, renewable energy companies made $13 billion. Currently, clean fuels like ethanol and biodiesel are the most profitable products. However, there is variety among the hundreds of companies within the Canadian renewable energy industry. As these businesses succeed, they create new jobs and those in poverty can find work.

The Political Advantages of Expanding Renewable Energy in Canada

The expanding renewable energy sector strengthens international relationships between Canada and other countries through the importing and exporting of resources and devices needed to build renewable energy plants.

Recently, the Canadian Government announced hopes to export hydrogen to Germany to help replace Russian oil considering tensions caused by the conflict in Ukraine. The government wants to decrease Russia’s influence on Western Europe and push the international community to further embrace renewables.

The U.S. sees Canada as a major export opportunity for its machining industry because renewable energy plants require many different pieces of machinery to work. Trade between the U.S. and Canada within the renewable energy sector has already led to a memorandum of understanding that removed tariffs on solar technology, establishing the groundwork for future trade deals and partnerships.

Ultimately, renewable energy in Canada could be a key component in the country’s fight against poverty going forward, providing a new avenue for safety, opportunity and security to the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

– Ryan Morton
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy in FranceIn 2015, nearly 200 countries signed off on the Paris Agreement to combat changing weather patterns. Since then, the agreement’s host nation, France, has made considerable, yet, insufficient progress towards its goals. The issue of climate has become a common topic of discussion in recent years. Changing weather can have various effects on the planet such as natural disasters. In an effort to confront the matter, the Treaty of Paris originated to get countries around the globe to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Interestingly, France, the country in which the treaty emerged, has fallen behind in trying to reach this goal. Here is some information about the state of renewable energy in France as well as the types of energy France uses in addition to it.

Sources of Power in France

In order for most nations to reduce their carbon emissions, they had to first reduce their use of fossil fuels. A large majority of greenhouse gasses come from the burning of these resources. France, on the other hand, does not really have this issue.

While renewable energy in France did not make up a large portion of power production, the country had another option to look to. For decades, France has primarily relied on nuclear energy for its power. In fact, in the year 2000, more than 70% of the country’s power came from nuclear energy, which emits much fewer greenhouse gasses than burning fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, nuclear energy comes with its own dangers. While nuclear power reduces the quantity of greenhouse gasses that release into the atmosphere, it produces nuclear waste that can prove to be harmful to the environment. Additionally, more nuclear energy means a higher risk of a nuclear meltdown which can have even more detrimental environmental effects. Overall, many countries, including France, have decided that renewable energy is the best option.

New Environmental Policies

France has implemented various laws and policies to help the country reach its Paris Agreement objectives. For example, the country’s environmental program, EN MARCHE, intends to close multiple coal based power plants, provide more funding for renewable energy and create a new recycling model. Also, the Environmental Transition Law (ETL) allows more renewable energy project funding to local authorities and single-use permits for wind energy, biogas and hydropower, and creates more than 35 million smart meters.

On top of this, France also has various future projects planned. In 2020, the French Energy Ministry created 1.7 gigawatts of renewable energy projects. Total, an energy company, will have its largest solar power plant located in Valenciennes. Overall, France expects 40% of all of the nation’s power to come from renewable energy by the year 2030.

Renewable Energy in France

According to the general delegate of the Renewable Energy Trade Administration, Alexandre Roesch, renewable resources generate 25% of France’s power. Hydropower supplies most of this energy. Out of all the nations in the European Union, France produces the most hydropower.

 Behind that is wind power, although that may not be the case for much longer. Wind power has progressed rapidly in France and the country has planned various projects for the future as well. Wind power could overtake hydropower by 2030 and could be key for France in meeting its renewable energy objectives.

 Like wind energy, solar power generation has also increased in France. While many do not expect it to surpass hydropower anytime soon, it could still significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

Falling Behind

While France has increased its renewable energy production and has various renewable energy projects in the works, the country is still at risk of not reaching its Paris Agreement goals. Much of this is due to internal debates that are slowing the process of constructing renewable power stations.

For example, creating new wind farms could greatly boost renewable power production in France, but there are other factors that French citizens are concerned with. Wind farms drastically increase noise pollution and many believe that their construction could eradicate biodiversity.

While the citizens continue to debate over these and various other issues, France is unable to complete its projects because of these internal disagreements. France could end up falling behind its fellow European nations in its own treaty if it cannot develop its renewable energy at a faster rate.

Renewable Energy’s Impact on Poverty

Energy poverty is an issue that impacts many countries in Europe, including France. In 2019, 12% of France’s population did not have adequate access to energy. Much of this is due to high energy prices and low incomes. This has resulted in many French citizens being unable to warm their homes during cold winters or cool their homes during increasingly hot summers.

The implementation of additional renewable energy in France could mitigate this issue in a couple of ways. Firstly, the cost of renewable energy has dropped significantly over time and is actually more affordable than nonrenewable energy now. This will make it easier for poorer citizens to have access to the power they need. Also, many of the households experiencing energy poverty are located along France’s coastal regions, which also happens to be where many wind power stations will undergo construction. The price and proximity of renewable energy could be helpful in lifting France out of energy poverty.

In addition to lowering energy poverty, more renewable energy could lower unemployment as well. Currently, France sits at an unemployment rate of 7.3%. France’s various renewable energies account for about 60,000 full-time jobs. If France’s future renewable projects come to fruition, it could create thousands of new jobs and lower the unemployment rate drastically.

Overall, renewable energy in France has become more prominent in recent years albeit, not at the rate they hoped for. Unfortunately, if the country wants to reach its ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, they have to pick up the pace exponentially. There is time and potential for France to become an even more renewable nation as long as the government and its citizens can reach an agreement that will yield positive results in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

– Tyshon Johnson
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy in GhanaTechnological innovation has always been an important determinant of economic growth. Now, renewable energy in Ghana is paving the way for a better nation. On May 25, 2022, the government of Ghana signed a grant agreement with the African Development Fund, as well as a financing agreement with the Swiss government, for the Ghana Mini-Grid and Solar Photovoltaic Net Metering project.

The Impact of the Agreement

In order to bring about renewable energy in Ghana, Ghana adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and strives to fulfill Sustainable Development Goal 7, which ensures that the population has access to energy-related services that are modern, affordable, reliable and sustainable. In the recent decade, Ghana has seen a growth in energy demand that has surpassed that of supply. According to an article from Sage Journals, despite the fact that Ghana has adopted the U.N. SDGs, the country’s primary energy sources are still nonrenewable.

According to the World Bank, poverty in Ghana stood at 25.5% in 2020. Ghana can use energy to improve the quality of life for the population, however, Ghana has a vast renewable energy potential that is currently underutilized. According to the World Bank, in 2020, 85.9% of the population had access to electricity.

In order to help the remaining 14.1%, the nation is considering the role of renewable energy in meeting energy needs by replacing traditional fuels with clean and reliable energy sources. This push for renewable energy is geared toward enhancing economic growth. The project will help schools, health facilities and communities throughout Ghana as electricity will be readily accessible to people within the population.

Technological plan

The relevant parties will implement this project within three years beginning in May 2022 and ending in December 2025. The agreement calls for the construction of “35 mini-grids in the Volta Lake region and the deployment of 12,000 units of roof-mounted net-metered solar PV systems.”

These solar cells will convert sunlight into electricity directly. “The systems will power 750 small medium-sized enterprises, 400 schools, 200 health centers, and the energy service systems in 100 communities in the Volta Lake region and Northern region of Ghana.”

Overall, the project aims to “bring sustainable and affordable electricity to [more than] 6,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and almost 5,000 households, besides 1,100 public buildings.”

Next Steps

It is clear to see that technology continues to influence Ghana to plan a more sustainable future that benefits the population. The authorities remain firm in their commitment to transition to renewable energy in Ghana. One of the country’s goals is to have 10% of renewable energy in the mix of electricity generation by 2025. According to an article from The Finder, the 12,000 units of roof-mounted net-metered solar PV will lead to the reduction of the public sector’s power debt and lower the costs of electricity for households and smaller businesses.

According to an article on Hindawi, Ghana has an undeniable potential to considerably increase local energy production and enhance the efficiency of energy distribution networks. Renewable energy in Ghana will provide energy access to the poor, which will improve their quality of life.

– Frema Mensah
Photo: Unsplash

Renewable Energy in the PhilippinesAs demand for electricity grows in the Philippines, so does the occurrence of power outages. Renewable energy in the Philippines presents itself as a potential solution to this issue that affects its citizens so often, especially with 23.7% of its population living in poverty. A future with fewer power outages means better access to sanitation, healthcare, education and many other elements necessary for a country to grow its economy and continue to develop.

The State of Electricity Access in the Philippines

The Philippines historically has relatively lower rates of energy consumption. However, demand is growing as the government works to expand electricity access to the whole nation. As of 2020, 96.8% of people in the Philippines have access to electricity, an increase of 20% over the last two decades. This has paid for itself through the benefits that it has brought to the Filipino economy. For instance, there is an annual welfare gain of $616 in electrified households. This, when taking the cost of electricity into account, is roughly the same increase in welfare that comes from conditional cash transfers that the government runs.

Despite the benefits that increased access to electricity has brought, its stability often falls into question, especially because of the impacts of climate change. Electricity outages affect every sector of the Filipino economy and just one hour of an outage has been demonstrated to deal a heavy blow to its GDP. Not only do these outages harm the economy, but dozens of peer-reviewed articles have pointed to evidence that they also lead to negative health outcomes in both the short and long term.

How Renewable Energy Can Help Improve the Situation

With the drastic consequences of power outages playing themselves out so often, it has become apparent that in order for the development of the Philippines to be sustainable, the energy it uses must be as well. A grid powered by renewables has been shown in models to provide stability at a cheaper price point. Not only is it possible, but some also claim it is preferable. The money and time invested into short-term energy supplies, such as kerosene, stands in the way of more productive economic activities that can fuel growth. Harnessing readily available resources, such as water or the sun, can quickly supply remote villages with long-term electricity.

Luckily, the Philippines is home to an abundant supply of renewable energy resources that can provide low-cost solutions to a lack of reliable energy. Considering the number of fossil fuels that the Philippines currently imports to keep the lights on, investment in homegrown solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power sources could save everyday Filipinos money while bolstering the country’s economy.

Where Renewable Energy in the Philippines Stands Right Now

With over 47% of its energy coming from renewables, the Philippines has been a leader in the expansion of these technologies. Though there has been an uptick in the use of renewable energy, it still has a long way to go before it unleashes its full potential. The government has set a goal of 15.3 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030, according to Energy Tracker Asia.

Currently, the majority of renewable energy in the Philippines comes from geothermal sources as it has some of the greatest stores of geothermal power capacity on the planet. Much of the government’s plans for expanding renewable energy are centered around increasing its geothermal capacity. Greater use of hydropower, wind and solar also factor heavily into the government’s plans, Energy Tracker Asia reports.


The Philippine government has worked vigorously to expand the use of renewables. One of the key factors to its success has been shaping a marketplace that incentivizes renewable energy in the Philippines under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. Some of these incentives include tax breaks, renewable energy sourcing mandates for suppliers and the Green Energy Option Plan which allows users to switch to a renewable energy supplier.

Along with government action, a number of businesses and NGOs are helping the Philippines along the way in its renewable energy transition. One of these organizations is Okra Solar, a company that supplies mesh grids to villages that they can quickly attach to rooftops of households and organizations to generate energy which is quicker than waiting to get a permit for a large-scale project. Once these grids are set up, they can be linked to other grids in the same system over time to provide a whole population with shared electricity access.

This has been especially beneficial for remote islands of the Philippines that often rely on importing diesel for electricity needs. The company’s systems could create a 30% increase in income through jobs in management and upkeep of the panels. Okra Solar has received a loan of $500,000 to supply 30,000 pods over the next few years.

 The Philippines has come a long way in its mission of providing electricity access to all of its population. As demand grows, a key way to avoid power outages and reduce the costs of electricity is further to invest in renewables. Companies like Okra Solar and policies such as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 will help the Philippines reach a sustainable and electrified future.

– Joey Harris
Photo: Flickr

Renewable Energy
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it aims to achieve them by 2030. The SDGs are a comprehensive overview and effort from the global community to bring prosperity, aid and development all around the world. In September 2021, a major first step toward achieving SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy occurred. Major U.N. participating countries and leaders came together in New York to discuss and present plans to move forward with the pursuit of clean, renewable, affordable and eventually universal energy for all peoples of the world. The meeting laid out financial, societal and scientific goals to help develop and prepare the world for renewable energy.

Energy Poverty

The U.N. participating countries decided that they will largely aid countries experiencing “energy poverty” clean and renewable energy sources and the infrastructure necessary to support the production of those sources largely towards those suffering from “energy poverty.”

“We have a double imperative… to end energy poverty and to limit climate change. And we have an answer that will fulfill both imperatives. Affordable, renewable and sustainable energy for all,” said the U.N. Secretary-General.

Energy poverty is defined as “a lack of or limited access to modern energy sources.” This lack of modern energy sources means a lack of technology and technical assistance; everything from transportation, to light, heat and modern medical technology is all restricted. The use of polluting and dirty fuel sources and excessive time spent collecting fuels further burdens low levels of energy consumption.

Energy Access

One cannot overstate the pertinence of energy access and the lack thereof can be severe for those struggling in poverty. About 3 billion people or 40% of the world have no access to clean cooking fuels and about 13% lack access to electricity entirely.

People in poverty spend a vastly higher percentage of their income, effort and time on the energy that they use. “In situations where people do have access to energy, it is often the poorest that end up paying disproportionate shares of their income to energy, in part because the higher upfront costs of investments in energy-efficient equipment are more difficult to bear for low-income households,” reported Policy Brief 08. Lack of access to energy services is a form, an outcome and a cause of poverty.

The U.N. Energy pledge, stemming from SDG 7, is looking to provide 500 million more people with electricity and 1 billion more people with reliable access to clean cooking fuels by the year 2025. These milestones are shorter-term goals that aim to pave a road to eventual zero net emissions and universal access to clean energy.

The Future

Various member states, NGOs and other third-party organizations interested in aiding the people of the world suffering from energy poverty, committed more than $400 billion to this cause over 40 years. Beyond the money, there has been a global acknowledgment of the importance of energy access and conservation and a surge of resources and general support from around the world.

SDG 7 and the global effort against energy poverty is just another step in the struggle to help those around the world. Although there is quite a bit of work ahead, the global community’s drive, funding and planned approach are enough to warm and light up a room.

– John J. Lee
Photo: Flickr

Investing in Renewable Energy in MongoliaEnergy access has surged in Mongolia in recent years. From 2010 to 2018, the percentage of the population that had access to energy in Mongolia increased from 78.5% to 98.1%. In rural areas, the percentage of people who had access to electricity in 2010 was roughly 41.9% and that number grew to about 94.6% in 2018. This increase in energy access coincides with renewable energy projects in Mongolia that the country has invested in.

Mongolia and Energy

Mongolia relies on imported coal for most of its energy. In 2018, 93% of all power generated from the country’s Central Energy System came from coal plants. However, the coal sector cannot maintain the country’s energy demand for the growing population. Fortunately, the potential for wind and solar energy in Mongolia is believed to be 2,600 gigawatts. This would provide enough energy for all of Mongolia and even Northeast Asia.

The Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access Project (REAP)

One of the first projects to capitalize on renewable energy in Mongolia was the Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access Project (REAP) which was completed from 2007 to 2012. The goal of the project was to provide herders access to electricity by selling and installing solar home systems (SHSs). At the time, herders were among the most impoverished people in the country. Fortunately, the SHS units provided under the REAP project greatly improved more than 70% of herders’ electricity access in Mongolia.

Photovoltaic Solar Energy (PV)

In 2017, the Second Energy Sector Project (SESP), presented by Mongolio’s Ministry of Energy, was approved by the World Bank. The project’s objective is to renovate and expand Mongolia’s energy infrastructure. The $54.4 million in funding would help supply nine of the country’s provinces and install Mongolio’s first large-scale build photovoltaic solar energy (PV) plant.

Mongolia’s investment follows the successful implementation of PV systems in China. According to Nature, “Of China’s 10 poverty-alleviation projects, its development of photovoltaic-based solar power has been one of the most successful.” In just three years, the solar installations helped 800,000 impoverished households in China. In Lixin, a county in China, the PV systems provided about $440 in extra yearly income to families.

Looking Forward

The government continues to invest in renewable energy in Mongolia. In April 2020, funding was approved to install the world’s largest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). The project is set to be completed in 2024 and will “supply 44 gigawatt-hours of clean peaking power annually, and support the integration of an additional 859 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity into the CES grid annually.” The PV systems and BESS are just two new installations of many that are set to tap into the potential of renewable energy in Mongolia and help improve the quality of life for many.

– Sophie Shippe
Photo: Flickr

Improving Energy in AfricaOne in 10 people in the world (800 million) have no access to electricity and the access of an additional 2.8 billion people is considered insufficient and unreliable. In regions with insufficient access to electricity, the standard of living is poor, particularly with regard to adequate healthcare and education. Africa is such a region. Half of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives without electricity. Improving energy in Africa is essential for economic growth and prosperity across the continent.

The Consequences of Inadequate Energy Access

Energy is vital to reduce the cost of business activities and for creating economic opportunities and jobs. More than 640 million Africans lack access to electricity. When the sun sets for these individuals, workable hours in the day end. Insufficient access to energy can also restrict the economy more indirectly, by way of increased risk of deaths related to wood-burning stoves, restricted hospital and emergency services and compromised access to education.

Along with appropriate infrastructure, household health and productivity are essential for boosting economies. The persistent use of wood-burning stoves is evidence of lacking infrastructure that presents a burden to health and productivity. This dated method has drawbacks that include indoor pollution, deforestation and unpaid time spent collecting biomass fuel. In 2017, an estimated 600,000 Africans died due to indoor pollution.

Fulfilling household responsibilities requires more time and must be done within restricted hours when electricity is unavailable. These responsibilities often fall on women and children and prevent their participation in the formal economy or pursuit of education that could encourage later participation. African economies suffer because of these barriers to participation. Industrialization is key to economic growth in Africa. To industrialize the continent, energy in Africa needs to be sustainable and easily accessible to all.

Improving Energy in Africa

Africa already has significant capacity for improvements in energy. Much of this potential lies in renewable energy sources. For example, one-fifth of Africa’s current energy is produced using hydropower. Hydropower, however, is only being utilized to one-tenth of its potential. Along with hydropower energy, solar, biomass, wind and geothermal energy all show promise for further development.

There are several existing avenues for further development of energy in Africa. As a shift toward renewable energy is gaining momentum across the globe, largely due to its environmental advantages, the resulting new and affordable technologies may provide the needed boost to further industrialization in Africa. Ensuring that renewable energy innovations reach Africa and are suited to build on current capabilities is essential for economic growth throughout the continent.

The 2020 African Economic Conference (AEC)

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme jointly hosted the 2020 African Economic Conference (AEC) from Dec. 8 to 10. The conference facilitated presentations and discussions among leading academics, early-career researchers, policymakers and decision-makers. The central theme of the conference was how to ensure continued sustainable development in Africa amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific topics included the role of governments and private institutions in regulating and developing African economies, adjusting goals and methods to conditions brought on by COVID-19 and preparing Africa for future resilience in crisis. The conference has been held since 2006 and helps to maximally inform efforts toward development in Africa, consider the challenges unique to local economies and emphasizes the importance of sustainable and renewable energy.

The New Deal on Energy in Africa

The AfDB Group is leading the New Deal on Energy in Africa to help develop energy in Africa and achieve universal electricity access for Africans by 2025. Its strategy is to build awareness of barriers to economic development, secure innovative funding for energy developments and strengthen energy policy and regulation. According to the AfDB, without stable energy in Africa, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved. The emphasized ideal for energy in Africa is renewable; nevertheless, efficient and less expensive methods of energy production can quickly work to stimulate the economy. Gas will be an important transition fuel as efforts are made to establish cleaner, maintainable methods.

Electricity Access for Economic Growth

Improving energy in Africa means that the continent needs reliable power grids and universal access to electricity to further economic stability. The path to sustainable energy in Africa is evolving thanks to new momentum derived from the global and continental potential for renewable energy development. Keeping energy progress in mind throughout pandemic response efforts is a goal of international organizations as they work together with Africa toward economic growth across the continent.

Payton Unger
Photo: Flickr

Solar Energy in UgandaAs of 2016, it was estimated by the World Bank that only 26% of Uganda’s population has access to electricity. In urban areas, the percentage is higher, at about 60%. However, in rural areas, the amount of people with electrical access is limited to only 18%. The use of solar energy in Uganda hopes to bring increased access to electricity, specifically in rural areas, as well as make electricity more affordable for the population.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is energy from the sun that can be used electrically or thermally. It is a renewable energy source that provides a sustainable and clean alternative. Through photovoltaics (solar thermal collectors) solar power is collected and then converted into an energy source that can be used as a heating system or for electricity.

Solar Energy Fighting Poverty

Solar energy in Uganda can bring poverty reduction. It is an affordable and reliable source of energy that rural areas can depend on. It can also produce jobs within the community. Since solar energy makes household chores easier, women and girls have more time available to search for jobs or pursue education and development opportunities. Overall, renewable energy is a valuable component to provide electricity access, financial empowerment and sustainable economic and social development.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

With solar energy, more of the country will have access to electricity. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is using its finances to help people without electricity in Uganda. As it is the rural communities that are more affected by a lack of electricity, programs are more focused on maintaining reliable resources for those areas.

Through EIB’s efforts, more than one million people in Uganda will have access to electricity for the first time, making for easier cooking and the ease of many other household activities. Families will also be able to save money since the household will not be using as much kerosene, candles or charcoal. Indoor pollution will decrease from less kerosene usage and fire hazards will be reduced.

Reliable electricity has many benefits, with access to health opportunities being one of them. With access to phones, radios and televisions, farmers will be open to markets that can increase their income. EIB has given a loan of $12.5 million to build 240,000 solar home systems throughout Uganda, increasing economic and social opportunities.

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) created an agenda that was adopted by Uganda’s government to help provide an increase in accessibility. The goal is to provide more than 99% of the population with access to electricity by 2030 and improve the energy efficiency of power users by at least 20% by 2030. SEforALL plans on accomplishing this ambitious goal by building energy savers throughout the country in households, industries, commercial enterprises and more.

It is clear that Uganda is in need of more access to electricity throughout the nation. Solar energy is one of the sources that hopes to increase those numbers. There is still a lot to be done to raise access to electricity from 26% to 100%, but with efforts from Sustainable Energy for All and the European Investment Bank, the situation looks exceptionally hopeful.

– Sarah Kirchner
Photo: Flickr

Solar Energy in MoroccoIn 2018 and 2019, Morocco became a powerhouse in renewable energy, exporting an increased 670% of energy and decreasing imports by 93.5%. This can be attributed to the nation constructing the largest concentrated solar farm in the world. The solar plant, known as the Noor Complex, has the capability to power one million homes and greatly reduce the use of fossil fuel.

Solar Energy in Morocco

Prior to this renewable attitude, 97% of Morocco’s energy was produced by fossil fuels. The construction of solar farms is able to offset the nation’s energy usage, lessening the demand for energy imports and creating opportunities for more exports, ensuring a self-sufficient nation.

The decrease in energy consumption in the country has saved funds on energy costs. In 2018, the Moroccan Government decided to move to the GMT+1 timezone resulting in less electricity consumption by citizens. This shift toward sunnier days allows Morocco to overproduce energy and afford to export energy.

The advantages of solar energy in Morocco extend into multiple areas, creating a positive impact for not only Morocco but the African continent as a whole.

Poverty Eradication Benefits

In past years, poverty in Morocco has seen a significant decrease. While an optimistic stride for the nation, the decline in poverty was disproportionate between rural and urban areas.

This disparity between the living areas is often attributed to the difficulty in distributing energy to the rural regions. The hope is that the efficiency of solar energy in Morocco will allow for energy distribution to residents living outside the city to be feasible.

In 2016, poverty in Morocco was reduced to 23% from 45% in 2014. As solar energy in Morocco becomes more efficient, the living conditions of the average resident should improve as solar power makes electricity more affordable and easier to access. The solar farms popping up across the country also create jobs for the population to earn a living wage.

Economic Benefits

Solar energy in Morocco helps the nation be less reliant on energy imports and capable of exporting more energy, boosting the economy and relationships with other nations.

As Morocco’s economy strengthens with its excess of energy, it looks to make connections with European countries. In 2016, the construction of the Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline project was announced. This pipeline perfectly positions Morocco to become an energy hub for the Mediterranean, African and European nations.

These connections to other nations allow Morocco access to flourishing markets and new business opportunities. As Morocco forms these foreign connections, it is becoming a greater political power in Africa.

Political Benefits

The continent of Africa currently has a leadership vacuum that Morocco is preparing to fill. As it produces more energy and builds stronger relationships with European nations, it is seen as a serious economic and political figure for the continent.

In 1984, Morocco left the African Union (AU) because of a disagreement over the recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). After many years, Morocco now seeks to rejoin the AU and strives to make the continent of Africa a robust, independent continent.

Now, the country is setting an example for the other nations of Africa to become self-sufficient and gain economic ground with foreign countries. Morocco has invested 85% of its foreign funds to other countries in Africa in an attempt to boost its leadership role as well as improve the struggling African economies.

The current Moroccan King, King Mohammed VI, has confidence in the continent’s abilities and wishes to lead Africa to success. He has made Morocco the second largest investor in African affairs.

Environmental Benefits

The positive environmental impact is often considered when looking at renewable energy. Morocco is heavily invested in combatting climate change and the environmental crisis the world is facing. Along with many green policies, Morocco is implementing the Green Generation 2020-2030 plan to help farmers conserve water and energy and grow crops more efficiently.

In addition to its pivot toward solar energy, Morocco is developing an environmental code to reduce pollution and work toward a greener society.

A Brighter Future

Morocco’s turn to solar energy is improving the living standards of its residents and empowering the country in the political arena all while reducing the harmful effects fossil fuels have on the planet. While Morocco has seen hard times, it is propelling forward and bringing the continent of Africa along with it. As Morocco constructs more solar resources and spreads its influence to other African nations, it plays a significant role in poverty reduction.

– Veronica Booth
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Jordan
While known for political stability in a region associated with civil wars and political violence, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan does have its fair share of struggles when it comes to the economy. Poverty in Jordan is the outcome of many factors shaping the country’s economic struggles. The kingdom has a scarce amount of natural oil stock in its eastern desert and the country is heavily reliant on foreign importing to meet its energy needs, constituting up to 30% of its total imports.

The country also happens to experience a wide range of issues, such as the inability to meet half of the population’s water demand, only 2.6% of its land being arable, an average labor participation rate of 38.1%, an unemployment rate of 23.9%, millions of refugees from Iraq, Palestine and Syria and a debt crisis consisting of 95% of the kingdom’s gross domestic product. All of these issues exacerbate poverty in Jordan.

Effects of Poverty on Jordan’s Youth

While poverty in Jordan affects people of all ages, a look at Jordan’s children tends to give a grim view. The population of children in Jordan is around 3 million. Of this number, 0.6% endure multidimensional impoverishment, which occurs when one suffers multiple deprivations at one time, and includes facets such as health, education and living standards. Poor quality of work, hazardous environments, disempowerment and the threat of violence also form part of these deprivations.

Poverty in Jordan disproportionately affects the refugee populations. The number of Syrians in Jordan living below the country’s poverty line is 78%. Among Syrian children, 94% of those younger than 5 experience multidimensional poverty. When it comes to malnutrition, 17% of the children face malnourishment due to poverty in Jordan. In addition, the infant mortality rate is 31 per 1,000 children.

Green Innovation

A significant issue that relates to poverty in Jordan is the issue of resource shortage. Addressing this is one way to combat some of the effects of poverty in Jordan. To overcome these challenges, the Hashemite Kingdom is spending more than $5 billion on renewable energy so that the nation can move toward self-sufficiency. Solar energy is already saving money for the local population with one religious clerk saying the bills necessary to generate electricity for his mosque used to be up to $18,350 per year. Now, that cost has been reduced to near zero.

In 2012, Jordan launched 11 renewable energy projects in the Maan province alone. Since then, the growth of the kingdom’s reliance on green power has resulted in 11% of the nation’s total power deriving from renewables in 2019. It is estimated that 15% of today’s Jordanian households have solar-based water heating systems. This investment in renewable energy will make Jordan less dependent on foreign oil markets. It will also drive economic growth through job creation — an estimated 40 million new jobs could exist by 2050. Meeting energy demands and achieving self-sufficiency while reducing the costs of power and igniting economic growth will help to alleviate poverty in Jordan. This will have a direct effect on children, the most powerless and vulnerable to the effects of poverty in Jordan.

– Mustafa Ali
Photo: Flickr