Friday, September 24, 2010

World's poorest should use renewables/IEA

Oil prices encourage poorest to use renewables-IEA
Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:58am GMT

By David Sheppard
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Higher oil and energy costs mean
the world's poorest people should look to renewable energy sources to
provide the power generation so many lack, the head of the
International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA which advises 28
industrialized countries on energy policy, said oil prices near $75 a
barrel CLc1 meant rural populations in sub-Sahara Africa should turn
to solar, wind and other renewables.

"Higher energy prices have a very large impact on the poorest
populations," Tanaka said on the sidelines of a summit on world
poverty at the UN headquarters in New York.

"That is why we think that renewables are often the best solution. The
issue is how you finance these projects initially."

The IEA was launching a report created with the United Nations
Development Programme and Industrial Development Organization looking
at energy poverty and how to make modern energy access universal.

It highlights that it would cost $36 billion a year between now and
2030 to provide energy supplies to the world's 1.2 million people who
currently lack access. [ID:nLDE68K23U]

The report argues this amounts to just 3 percent of what the world is
projected to invest in future energy projects over the next 20 years.

"Lack of access to modern energy services is a serious hindrance to
economic and social development and must be overcome if the UN
Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved," the IEA said in the

Tanaka said current oil prices around $75 a barrel may fall in the
short-term if the economic recovery in the developed world falters,
saying he saw many risks to growth, but the IEA and its partners do
not see prices heading lower for long.

"In the report we're not projecting oil prices will go down
significantly," said Minoru Takada,the head of Sustainable Energy at
the UN Development Programme.

"We expect the oil price will stay around this level or rise a bit

The report said in this environment, "Small, stand-alone renewable
energy technologies can often meet the electricity needs of rural
communities more cheaply and have the potential to displace costly
diesel-powered generation options.

"One of the main advantages of renewable energy sources, particularly
for household scale applications, is their comparatively low running
costs (fuel costs are zero), but their high upfront costs demands new
and innovative financial tools to encourage uptake."

Takada of the UN Development Programme said they would work with host
and donor countries to encourage subsidies for initial projects.

Using primarily renewables to provide energy access to the world's
poorest populations would only boost oil demand by less than 1 percent
and carbon dioxide emissions by 0.8 percent, the IEA said. (Reporting
by David Sheppard; Editing by Richard Chang)

� Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved

Renewable energy sources could help some of the poorest people in the
world mitigate the effects of high oil prices, a new report claims.
Published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the report on the
United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) suggests that
sub-Saharan regions should look to solar power as the "most widespread
energy resource" in the region. Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of
the IEA, speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, highlighted that
a lack of access to "modern energy services" has a severe effect on
both social and economic development. "Small, stand-alone renewable
energy technologies can often meet the electricity needs of rural
communities more cheaply and have the potential to displace costly
diesel-powered generation options," Reuters quotes Mr Tanaka as
saying. The report by the IEA suggested that there must be more
government support for renewable energy in Africa and that currently,
the framework for the development of such projects is lacking. Mr
Tanaka also noted that the initial financing of renewable energy
developments was an issue. The UN MDG for Environmental Sustainability
states that "a decisive response to climate change is urgently needed".

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