|source Sappi positivity|
IRENA has set a goal of doubling the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030. The authors argue that for sub-Saharan Africa, with plenty of sunshine and land, this presents an opportunity for development that is not only sustainable, but also spreads the benefits more widely than with fossil-fuel wealth.
No region in the world has greater biomass energy potential. There is plentiful land, sun and labour to grow sugar cane and other energy-rich crops. Agro-industrial development based on modern bioenergy could bring new jobs and higher incomes to rural areas, provide ene
rgy security, and reduce forest degradation and air pollution associated with traditional biomass use.
Many sub-Saharan African countries are hamstrung not only by unaffordable oil prices, but by the lack of basic energy and transport infrastructure and institutional capacity. Their agricultural systems are equally under-developed, with rural populations often dependent on subsistence farming, which is highly vulnerable to climatic changes and extreme weather. Traditional biomass – burning wood, agricultural residues and dung – is the main source of energy, reducing quality of life and hindering economic productivity. A more systematic effort to develop bioenergy could help modernise the agricultural sector, raise incomes, and contribute to improved infrastructure and energy access.
Source: Outreach, UK