bright lights, small villages: why helping africa get solar power is good for america.
Per capita income is less than one dollar per day.
When the cock ends around 9 in the evening, the day begins. m.
When everyone finished eating their mashed yam and banana.
It is the ideal place to build the atechnological metropolis of osedarkwa but Patriensa.
Darkwa is a calm, happy person, not sure if there are 20 to 30 people in his house, he was born in inPatriensa and educated in Norway as a professor at the University of Illinois, can make a little money.
Now he\'s back and is building a huge telephone, Internet and health center with a radio station and potential data --
Processing facilities initiated by foreign companies.
He has shipped hundreds of old computers from the United States, opened computer literacy courses, found donated hospital beds, and even promised to provide space for a local resident and her potions.
He is currently swiping his American credit card to coax friends and villagers to donate land to freelancers.
\"It\'s just a sacrifice for a better tomorrow,\" he said . \".
But now there is one thing that stumbles him: power.
The telecom center liestoo, which is far away from Ghana\'s State Grid, receives any electricity, so lights are needed to build the metropolitan Darkwa with solar cells installed on the roof.
Partly funded by Americans-
Greenstar, a government group, provides enough power for basic lighting and about five computers.
Darkwa wants to do more, but he doesn\'t have the money to buy more cells;
Getting electricity from the grid means wading in bribes in corrupt and complex bureaucracy.
At first glance, it may not be clear whether Darkwa\'s question should involve anyone other than Patriensa.
But while most Americans can\'t even find Ghana on the map, the energy options of this small African country, as well as those of millions of people in the developing world, ultimately, it will affect the environment, the economy, and the energy prospects of all Americans.
If Darkwa and people like him-
About 2 billion of energy.
Hungry people all over the world-
Decided to power the TV and refrigerator with coal and oil, and the ultimate environmental disaster will affect every place on Earth.
But if rich countries can help their poor compatriots turn to clean and renewable energy, the air will become cleaner, pollution and poverty will decrease, and new trade markets will develop, oil prices may even fall.
In other words, the United States should not help Darkwa turn green just for his benefit, or just because it is a good thing.
We should help darkwa to go green because it is in our own interest.
It may sound far-
Poor rural communities are required to adopt solar and renewable energy before the rich developed countries.
But in fact, solar power makes more sense in Patricia than in Philadelphia.
Americans often take electricity for granted.
You can buy a hairdryer, plug it in and turn it on anywhere, thanks to a \"grid\" that connects power stations, wires and transformers across the country \".
But the grid is a product of hundreds of billions of dollars in government subsidies and private investment for years.
In contrast, in developing countries, fully functional power grids are often confined to urban areas and are often close to outdated or unable to meet demand.
Most places have no grid at all.
Even poor countries have money or are willing to build power grids. -
Most people worry more. -
Powering up rural villages like patriensa is not their top priority.
As ESKOM, South Africa\'s largest utility, discovered, extending the grid to several households tends to be much more expensive than providing solar energy to the same village, so it has begun installing solar energy on hard drivesto-
Contact the community every month-fee basis.
Even in government
The power grid built is available and there is one more problem: the government itself.
In many developing countries,owned or -
Running utilities is corrupt and unreliable.
In Ghana, for example,
Among the people with access, a third experienced periodic power outages, energy peaks and capricious policies, such as the recent increase in electricity bills by 60%.
The country relies heavily on a huge dam.
When the rainfall is low, the electricity is low.
When 1998 of the drought caused continuous power outages, students from the country\'s top universities gathered
Just outside the school Park, street lights that power their exams.
Solar energy and other scattered energy sources can help solve these problems.
Mobile phones in Africa, Asia and Latin America offer a promising parallel.
For decades, people in developing countries have endured expensive and poorly designed telephone networks of corruption and inefficient bureaucratic control.
But over the past five years, entrepreneurs have built
Actually bypassing the telephone network of the national telephone system.
Five years ago, Ghanadidn had no cell phone. But as a U. N.
The task force recently found that in the past five years, Africa has opened more mobile phone connections than on land --
The line connection of the past century.
Another reason solar power is giving people is that solar power makes more sense in rural Ghana and town D. C.
To put it simply, competition.
In the United States, renewable energy must compete with efficient, cheap, subsidized and convenient energy sources. to-
Find Fossil fuel
In the United States, burning coal may cause the smell of icebergs, but it is cheap and can be widely used.
In addition, in the United States, we have invested in the infrastructure needed to deliver electricity from the central power station to wherever it is needed.
So while coal is used to generate electricity about 2 cents per kilowatt hour, the cost of solar energy is still 10 times that.
Of course, solar energy is becoming cheaper and cheaper every day, and coal burning also brings a lot of benefits.
Health and environmental costs.
But in the short term, it has the most economic significance.
On the other hand, there is no economic Point in burning fossil fuels for power generation in many developing world ---
Even in the short term-
Because this would mean a significant investment in infrastructure, transmission capacity and power generation facilities. (
Not to mention the annual cost of purchasing the necessary fuel. )
In other words, for many developing world, clean energy can only compete with energy sources with extremely low combustion efficiency, extremely high cost and extremely high difficulty --to-find fuels.
For these people, in the long run, solar energy costs less than they now collect or buy firewood, kerosene, candles and dry fuel --cell batteries.
In Morocco, for example, \"more than half
Renewable energy VikramWidge points out that the grid has spent nearly $100 a year on this fuel
Energy expert from International Finance Corporation, private-
Department of the World Bank.
At the same time, a 50-watt solar home system-
Enough to run two or three bulbs, power outlets, TV, and maybe a fan-
It is about $550, but the estimated life span is 20 years.
\"In another village in Ghana that tried Solar Energy-wood nkunta, villagers have paid 20% of their income, not to mention the countless hours of putting firewood on their heads from increasingly remote forests
In a recent study, the International Energy Agency found that, in contrast, the proportion of household income in energy countries like the UK is only 2%.
In the long run, solar energy is an option and healthier.
According to estimates by the World Health Organization,
In the developing world, 5 million people die prematurely each year from inhaling biomass that burns indoors. -
In many cases, death can be avoided by using cleaner energy.
So why is there no more development?
World villagers using solar energy?
The main obstacle is not income, but financing channels.
Although the world\'s poor can and often pay for energy within a month --to-
On a monthly basis, it is difficult for them to accumulate in advance the small amount of capital needed to pay for renewable energy systems.
One common problem in many developing countries is that no one can determine who owns a particular piece of land ---
Entrepreneurs who become the most common form of collateral for loans.
In many cultures, especially those where poverty has been a way of life for centuries ---
For example, most parts of Africa-
The concept of saving money is unheard;
Once someone has accumulated a little cash, he softens expectations of sharing cash with the rest of the community.
Of course, most people live a day. to-day and hand-to-mouth.
Phil laroko, head of witch and New Jersey
A company that provides support and seed capital to energy entrepreneurs in developing countries said that the key to getting solar energy into developing countries is to use poor-facing financial products.
Credit guarantee, small loan of Agricultural Bank, small loan
Things like credit can extend the short-term vision of the poor who usually make daily energy decisions.
If the United States can help provide financial instruments and incentives to change this short-lived situation, it will illuminate my life --
From the point of view of necessity and bringing strength to the world\'s poor, the benefits will be enormous. Electricity--
From any source-
It\'s not just bringing light to avillage.
It allows people to irrigate farmland, refrigerate vaccines, and run machines.
It allows them to work later, pump water, watch TV, and maybe, eventually, connect to the Internet.
Widespread access to electricity can lead to fundamental changes in the way people work, trade and agriculture, laying the foundation for a surge in global development.
\"People don\'t have electricity because they are poor,\" said Nana yaubokai Asante, CEO of Terra-, a private Ghana solar company. solar.
\"But they are poor, partly because they don\'t have power,\" he said . \"
Electricity may also have a profound impact on the local population.
One of the biggest problems in Africa is that a large number of young people leave their farming villages and move to major cities.
They went there looking for stimulus and electricity. -
In the sense of metaphor and word.
Of course, they usually find unemployment and poverty.
This is not good for them, nor for us;
At the corner of acity Street, there is another person selling pineapple, which means that there is one less person who grows pineapple exports.
This may also mean another AIDS patient.
When young people immigrate to cities, they often go to prostitutes, get AIDS, and then bring it back to their families and villages.
Research has shown that this is a key carrier of AIDS in the relatively rare continent of homosexual sex and blood transfusion.
Electricity in their villages does not stop this migration completely, but it will make a difference.
\"If they had a TV and a radio here, they might have stayed . \"K. N.
Budu, Wood director at Nkwanta.
\"Then there will be no old men and women working on the farm.
But there are also potential benefits for the United States.
Increasing power supply means an increase in demand for television, video recorders and audio ---
Not to mention cd and video.
\"If we don\'t develop the new energy market, where are the opportunities to buy American oil in the future? \" LaRocco said ? \"S.
Where is the Dvd coming from?
\"More directly, if developing countries are primarily dependent on traditional energy in the growth process, they will start to compete with the United States in terms of oil and gas.
For example, China currently uses coal for about 70% of its energy needs.
But according to the International Energy Agency, by 2030, China\'s demand for oil will be the same as that of the United States, becoming a strategic buyer of the world energy market.
The International Energy Agency says the emergence of China as a new \"energy giant\" will have an impact on the energy security of all other energy sources
Moreover, according to the way India\'s economy grows, India will one day compete with the United States to import oil.
Simple economic theory shows that as demand for goods increases (
(Assuming stable supply)
The same is true for its price.
In other words, by helping developing countries adopt solar and wind energy, the United States may help to lower its oil prices.
In the developing world, however, the main benefit of clean energy to the United States is the environment.
While global energy use is expected to grow at an average rate of around 1.
In the coming decades, the annual growth rate of 7% is likely to be more than twice that of developing countries, even faster than China.
In the coming decades, China and India will need to provide energy to millions of farmers, who, like the farmers of the timber South Wanta, are only a few miles away from the nearest wires.
If China and India meet this demand by expanding the grid and burning more coal ---
Both sides have ample coal supply-
As well as biomass, the resulting pollution will make brown clouds that suffocate parts of Asia this year look like windy cigarette smoke.
But with some help from the international community, it is cheaper to provide these people with solar power than to provide them with a grid ---
Better for the environment.
And climate change.
If China and India-
Not to mention Africa, the rest of Asia and Latin America. -
Expanding energy consumption through traditional fossil fuels
Based on the energy path, they will soon overtake the United States as the main emitter of greenhouse gases, which has dashed any hope of stopping the predicted climate turmoil, as no country will be spared: the world\'s largest reinsurance company in Munich (
It provides insurance for world insurance companies, so it bears the risk of major catastrophic events such as earthquakes and storms)
It is estimated that even mild climate change can lead to the world\'s annual loss of more than $300 billion in crop losses, storms, droughts, hurricanes and other disasters.
\"What I fear most is that,\" said Kevin Bowmer of the senior association of the World Institute of Resources in Washington. C. -
\"The United States continues to shirk its responsibility on climate change, partly because developing countries are starting to use energy and pollution in the United States. S. levels.
It will be a disaster.
To prevent this nightmare, developed countries need to help the developing world overcome the initial peaks of building solar and other renewable energy sources.
Some people and institutions have taken the lead.
For example, Widge and his partner John Forster said IFC is working with local banks in Morocco, India and Kenya to provide affordable loans for off-site solar
Grid, rural areas.
They have only spent about $19 million so far, but the money seems to have had a huge impact, and they report that they are starting to find a huge repressed thing
Demand for solar energy has increased.
This square has our experience in wood Nkwanta and villagers seem to think of their solar energy-
As a power light from God\'s gift.
This huge market has not disappeared in the world of solar technology.
\"Obviously, this is a promising business area for us,\" said Todd Foley, a spokesman for BP Solar in the United States. S. -
BP, headquartered in the UK, has become one of the world\'s largest solar cell producers.
\"Of the 2 billion people in the world who do not have electricity, we think it may be 1 to 1.
The 5 billion will find solaris the best and most economically competitive option.
He added that in this total, solar energy can already be affordable for about a quarter, and if they only have some form of government subsidy or credit, the rest can get solar energy.
BP has taken steps to use it.
It cost $48 last year. million-
The US dollar contract will bring solar energy to some 400,000 households in remote areas of the Philippines.
However, the interesting thing about this project is not only that it is an important source of BP\'s business, but also that financing comes from the Spanish government.
In order to develop this business, it is necessary to participate in bilateral and multilateral assistance, said welfare.
So by supporting renewable energy projects in the developing world, the United States can help the world\'s poor at the same time and support the emerging solar energy-energyindustry.
There are two easy ways for the United States to help the developing world get more energy.
One is large-scale assistance to create clean energy for the Third World;
Another possibility is to push the World Bank to significantly expand the budget for projects such as Widge and Forster\'s.
But given the American aversion to foreign aid and current foreign aid, neither seems likely
Policy priorities: the United States provides almost the same military assistance to Israel today, just as it provides all forms of assistance to all foreign countriesSub-Saharan Africa.
A more realistic approach is to link debt relief with the use of clean energy.
Part of the reason for the past two years has been high
Advocates like u2\'s Bono, debt relief has made progress in the United States. S. policy circles.
Now everyone agrees that unsustainable levels of public, private and multilateral obligations are dragging down the developing world: the total per capita debt of developing countries to developed countries is about $500 ---
More than once a year
Per capita income in most parts of Africa.
While no one really expects poor countries to pay off their debts, paying them alone will bind many third countries --
Governments around the world
So why not clean up the debt?
The result could be a victory. win-
Win-win: developing countries will benefit, renewable energy companies in the United States will benefit, and the global environment will benefit.
Innovative environmental organizations have more than ten years of experience in organizing debtfor-nature swaps;
Experience as a \"debt\" modelfor-clean-energyswaps.
For example, the Tropical Forest Protection Act passed by the United States. S.
Congress allowed the United States in 1998. S.
The government exempts other governments from debt owed to it in exchange for investment in forest protection.
These countries can repay their debts in local currency for activities that help them develop.
The United States got what it thought was valuable in exchange for debt that might not have been recovered at all.
The legislation, backed by both parties and President Bush, is expected to invest $0. 25 billion in the protection of developing countries over the next three years.
Asimilar bill can do the same. -or more--
Renewable energy development.
For example, the Ghanaian government can buy the Darkwa his solar cells, and the United States can waive a considerable amount of debt.
When asked about such a communication, Nana Yaou boakisant, CEO of Thila sorar, jumped up and said it was exactly what Ghana needed.
\"It\'s staring at our face,\" he said, looking at the Sun and wiping away the sweat from another 90 s.
It should be a degree day in the cool season of the country.
\"At latitude and longitude, we are at the center of the Earth.
There are many suns.
The sun does not move.
It\'s always there.
\"With the help of the United States, its energy is also OK.
Ricardo bayong is a researcher at the New American Foundation, and Nicholas Thompson is a Markle researcher.