News Selection – Energy for All
Recent news chosen to illustrate and update Tread Softly briefings on Energy for All.
IRENA chief on investing in renewable energy's 'quiet revolution'
3/12/2018: An interview with Adnan Amin, head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, considers whether negotiations to progress the Paris Agreement on climate change could help push the growth in renewables still further. Source: Devex
Mega-dam global building spree should end, say experts
29/11/2018: The environmental and social costs of hydroelectric mega-dams have been grossly underestimated, and will continue to grow further as climate change escalates, a new report finds.
Prospects of AfDB promises to light up and power Africa
7/11/2018: The African Development Bank promised in 2015 to “light up and power Africa” as part of its New Deal on Energy. Now it’s clear that the bank must do more to support distributed renewable energy. Source: Devex
Are China's energy investments in Africa green enough?
3/9/2018: There is a growing gap between China’s vision of South-South climate cooperation, which prioritises clean energy projects, and its actual investments across the African continent, which still include coal and hydropower projects. Source: China Dialogue
Tread Softly Comment: Useful facts and figures on China's investment in energy projects in Africa. The major proportion of these projects continue to finance coal-fired power and upstream oil and gas extraction. There's no reason why current campaign pressure on private and multilateral banks to stop lending for fossil fuel projects should not be extended to China's state-supported financial sector. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is also a candidate. Relevant Briefing: Coal and Hydro Dilemmas
How solar energy is powering off-grid areas in East Africa and lighting up lives
6/8/2018: Kenyans can expect to pay less for electricity upon the inauguration of the region’s largest solar plant next month, in the northeastern part of the country. Source: The East African
Tread Softly Comment: Kenya is relatively advanced in renewable energy provision, thanks to its geothermal resources. The country also has great potential for solar power but has had some difficulty in coordinating traditional development partners. Meanwhile, this new plant has been constructed by a state-owned Chinese company with Chinese finance, opening ahead of schedule. Possibly not the ideal solution for the Kenyan government but a common scenario in current African development. Relevant Briefing: Finance for Energy for All
UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribes Kenya’s Lake Turkana as “in danger” over Gibe Dam impacts
28/6/2018: The Gibe 3 Dam, constructed upstream on Ethiopia’s Omo River, has already severely restricted flows into Kenya’s Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake. Now the World Heritage Committee is taking a stand against the Ethiopian government. Source: International Rivers
Tread Softly Comment: If the radical new government in Ethiopia is willing to discuss peace with its bitter rival, Eritrea, surely its longstanding disagreements with Kenya over the construction of up to 5 Gibe dams on the River Omo can be resolved amicably. Relevant Briefing: Coal and Hydro Dilemmas
Dilemmas for West Africa in tackling energy poverty
26/6/2018: West African countries are committed to connecting every household with an energy source, in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, they have pledged to limit carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement.
African desert solar power for Africans
31/5/2018: For years, there has been talk of Europeans sourcing renewable power from the desert lands of North Africa. Now a more relevant project aims to bring solar power to 250,000 Africans in the Sahel region.
Energy poverty data published in Kenya
12/4/2018: The proportion of households in rural areas of Kenya using light from electricity was only 17.1% according to the latest national survey. Over 50% of Kenyans use wood fuel for cooking, mostly from unsustainable sources.
Indonesia juggles the coal versus renewables equation
29/3/2018: Indonesia has published a ten-year energy plan, but activists argue that not enough is promised to reduce dependence on coal - which is damaging health, especially through air pollution.