Renewable Energy Ready for Deployment in Developing Countries

The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN 21) released its report, “Energy for Development: The Potential Role of Renewable Energy in Meeting the Millennium Development Goals,” in conjunction with the 2005 World Summit at the United Nations.

The report identifies renewable energy options that are currently in wide use in some regions and that are now ready for large-scale introduction in many areas of the developing world. Through 26 case studies, the report cites biogas, small hydro, solar, wind, ethanol, and biodiesel, among other technologies, as viable options for poverty alleviation in developing countries. As their cost has declined and their reliability has improved, renewable energy technologies have emerged as affordable and practical means of providing essential energy services. Although the strongest renewable energy growth has been in grid-connected power systems and liquid fuels for transportation, several technologies are well suited to providing modern energy services for developing countries. Scaling up a broad portfolio of renewable energy options can make a major contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, concludes the report. The report, produced and published by the Worldwatch Institute, brings together the expertise of the participants of REN 21, which provides a forum for international leadership on renewable energy and connects stakeholders from the Bonn International Conference for Renewable Energies in 2004. Formally established in Copenhagen in June 2005, REN 21 is supported by a steering committee of 11 governments, five intergovernmental organizations, five non-governmental organizations, and regional, local and private organizations.

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