There is a myth that cooling technology is just for those who live in hot and humid climates. Let me break this illusion. How else do you think we would keep the food fresh and safe to eat? Or create and preserve medicines for people to shield their lives? Even the Internet relies on cooling technology to keep servers in massive data centers from overheating.
To be honest, I have never really been a fan of motorsport racing, but Formula E is something different. Regular sports car racing has always felt too loud, too polluting and a bit pointless, but electric car racing is changing my perception rapidly. The most recent Formula E race and associated FIA Smart Cities event in Santiago, Chile last week highlighted the importance of sustainable mobility and the advantages of advancing electric technology as quickly as possible. Extremely fast electric cars, whooshing by cheering audiences with a distinctly electric whizzing sound, made me realize that the future is definitely now.
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For over a hundred years, electrical grids have been built with the assumption that electricity has to be generated, transmitted, distributed, and used in real time because energy storage was not economically feasible.
This is now beginning to change.
In March 2016, some colleagues and I visited several villages around Kaffrine in Senegal where private companies had been awarded licenses to provide electricity on a commercial basis. As we spoke to people, two things became very clear. The initial cost of connection to the grid was too high for many poor people, and the cost of electricity offered by the private companies (or “concessionaires”) were in several cases higher than what the government-owned utility offered in nearby areas.
En marzo de 2016, visité junto con unos colegas varias aldeas de la región de Kaffrine, en Senegal, donde se han otorgado licencias a empresas privadas para que suministren servicios comerciales de electricidad. Las conversaciones que mantuvimos con los habitantes nos permitieron llegar a dos conclusiones muy claras. El costo inicial de conexión a la red era demasiado elevado para muchas personas pobres y el costo de la electricidad que ofrecían las empresas privadas (o “concesionarias”) era, en varios casos, más alto que el del servicio ofrecido por el Gobierno en zonas aledañas.
En mars 2016, mes collègues et moi nous sommes rendus dans plusieurs villages dans la région de Kaffrine au Sénégal, où des compagnies privées avaient obtenu des licences commerciales de fourniture d’électricité. Deux faits sont ressortis clairement de nos discussions avec la population locale. Le coût initial du raccordement au réseau était un problème de taille et dans plusieurs cas, le coût de l’électricité fournie par les compagnies privées (ou « concessionnaires ») était plus élevé que celui de la société publique d’électricité dans les zones voisines.
Morocco, the host of COP22 happening this week and next in Marrakech, is an example of a country that is working closely with the World Bank and other organizations to shift its economy onto a low carbon development path.
It just submitted its official climate plan, or nationally determined contribution, NDC, where it pledges a 42% reduction below business-as-usual emissions by 2030. This is 10 percentage points more ambitious than it previously laid out, ahead of Paris, and we see the plan affecting a growing number of sectors in the economy. Morocco plans a $13 billion expansion of wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation capacity and associated infrastructure that should see the country get 42% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, ramping up to 52% by 2030.
Last month, a new wind farm began spinning its blades in Jamaica. At 36 megawatts (MW) it became Jamaica’s largest private-sector renewable energy project, set to diversify the country’s energy matrix, reducing its high electricity prices and generating significant environmental and social benefits.
People have been harnessing water to produce energy and perform work for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used watermills to grind wheat into flour. Ancient Romans used the power of water to cut timber and stone. During the Han dynasty in China, hydraulically operated pumps raised water for crops into irrigation canals. .
Today it represents 16.6 percent of the world’s total electricity production while contributing 80% of the global renewable electricity mix.
It does not happen often that one of the finest actors of our time tweets about a World Bank supported project and invites all his fans to have a look at the impressive pictures taken from space. In fact, I can’t remember having seen that before.
But this is what Oscar winner and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio did a few months ago when the Noor Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) in Morocco—the largest CSP plant in the world - was opened. Once finalized, in two years, it will provide clean energy to 1.1 million households. I visited the plant two weeks ago and it is truly an impressive site. The indirect benefits of the project might even be larger: it has advanced an important and innovative technology, it has driven down costs of CSP, and it holds important lessons for how public and private sectors can work together in the future.
I am proud that the World Bank, jointly with the African Development Bank and a number of foreign investors, supported this cutting-edge solar energy project. But it was made possible thanks to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), which put in US$435 million to “de-risk” the investment, playing an essential role to kickstart the deal.