Renewable Energy Can Help Reduce Inequalities in Asia-Pacific Nations
Whilst many people in most first world countries have access to a reliable and steady flow of electricity, there are still some corners of the world where access to energy is a huge issue. This is mainly prevalent in the remote isolated communities located in south east Asia even with good economic progress being made in past years.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia have estimated that there are roughly 326 million people who live in Asia and the Pacific and do not have access to reliable electricity. in Indonesia alone it is estimated that there are more than 10 million people who do not have access to reliable electricity with the majority of these situated in the east side of the nation.
Most of the time, people without access to reliable electricity are situated in remote hard to reach locations such as isolated islands or small villages high up in the Himalayas. In such location’s fossil fuels are very limited and it would be very expensive to try and set up a large scale power plant. Therefore, the best option for these situations would be to make use of mini-grid power systems which make use of renewable energy to produce their power. many studies have backed this claim up to be the best option, including one study by the International Renewable Energy Agency back in 2018.
One of the most crucial climate change actions that needs to be undertaken by governments is the expansion of renewable energy, this will help ensure the transition to clean energy runs as smoothly as possible and is perhaps the key to combatting climate change.
The UN Development Program backs the increased use of renewable energy sources, especially in Asia-Pacific countries such as Indonesia. They particularly support the effort that should be made to help provide more reliable energy to the isolated communities so that they have power for both economic and domestic use. The advantage of using renewable energy sources to provide this power is that it is clean energy that is being produced, it is economically attractive and helps keep on track with the Sustainable Development Goal 7, which is to provide clean and affordable energy. It also ensures that no community will get left behind.
There are examples of this technology already having positive impacts on communities. In the remote village Jambi, which is located in Indonesia, there has been a rollout of micro hydro power plants. In total they have generated power for more than 4000 people living in the village and have completely transformed their way of life.
There are also soon to be new renewable energy sources located elsewhere in Asia. There is a plan for solar panels to be constructed in some of the poor communities in Indonesia and the neighbouring Timor Leste which will generate clean power for the communities. Similar projects are being introduced in countries such as Samoa and Nepal as well.
The introduction of clean energy to these communities brings many positive outcomes. It provides better job opportunities, income, education and improved health. In Jambi, for example, the new micro hydro power plants have allowed the village to have better access to safe and clean drinking water, improved business opportunities for the adults and have allowed children the ability to study after sunset.
It is hoped that the many positives that renewable power can bring to these communities will provide a good opportunity to reduce inequalities within nations. It will help the development of growth in those places that have been left behind and provide better connectivity to the outside world and technology to the communities to bridge the digital divide.