A successful inclusive green growth strategy has to address the question of how we generate and consume energy. Indeed, the energy question is where poverty and climate pressures meet. One in five people worldwide lives without electricity. Two in five use wood, charcoal, dung or coal to cook and heat their homes, usually at risk to their health.
Everyone talks about the crisis of energy access – the 2.7 billion people who use wood and other solid fuels, and the 1.5 billion without access to electricity – but who is doing something about it?
At the African Energy Ministerial Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, today, both high-level planning and on-the-ground energy projects were visible, and truly inspiring. In a five hour Green Household Energy Solutions Expo that I had the true pleasure to chair, the Minister of Economic Development for South Africa, Mr. Ebrahim Patel, kicked off the discussion by saying that South Africa was committed to growing nation’s clean energy generation capacity for both domestic use and for export and in the process create green jobs.
The meeting marks a key chance for integration and coordination as the last regional ministerial meeting before the COP17 Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa in December of this year. The room was packed, with over 15 ministers in attendance, and the discussion turned to the benefits of regional integration of transmission systems, building wind, geothermal, and large-scale solar energy projects.
However, the focus and the stars of the meeting were the innovators at the household and local community level who showed the possibilities that exist with a range of new approaches – some technological but many managerial and social as well.
Ron Bills of Envirofit, a producer of high efficiency woodstoves said: “We have sold 300,000 stoves, and can provide high quality stoves to scale up clean energy cooking markets anywhere!”