It is possible to mitigate climate change and reduce poverty at the same time. The Environment and Energy Partnership programme, started by Finland, is proof of this.
The Environment and Energy Partnership programme is an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. EEP is a programme funded with development cooperation funds, and also part of Finland’s climate funding.
The model, developed by Finns, was first launched in Central American countries and later expanded to the Mekong region in Asia. The programme was started in southern and east Africa in 2010.
The effects of 60 finished projects in African countries have now been analysed, and the results are good. The projects have brought renewable energy to 53,300 households. Over 2,000 new jobs have been created, mainly for women and young people. By the end of June, over 26,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been saved.
The programme has also created renewable energy networks and connected actors in the sector regionally.
Access to energy is vital for Africa's development. Many African countries suffer from a continuous energy shortage, although there are abundant opportunities to produce energy. Projects using renewable energy increase access to energy, create new jobs, save natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The partnership programme provides seed funding to innovative companies and institutions at the beginning of their operations. Funding helps the businesses develop their operations so that they are commercially sustainable.
Funding is provided for projects that improve people's access to energy and increase energy security. EEP funding is focused on supporting the private sector, but the program also involves NGOs.
Funded projects are selected through open calls for project applications on the basis of their quality. So far, funding has been provided for 198 projects.
It is also important that the lessons learned from finished projects are taken forward. Information and operating models are copied to other projects in the field in east and southern Africa.
Nuru Energy has found a niche market in the Rwandan countryside using solar panels and a pedal powered generator. The system is completely off the grid. It consists of a pedal power generator, a 50 watt solar panel and a charge controller.
The reliable system can be used continuously in the countryside, where power generation usually requires either fuel or sunshine.The batteries can be charged any time of the day.
The project employs 400 small business owners in over 500 villages. Until now, more than 45,000 LED light fixtures have been sold, and the goal is to sell 100,000 lights with the help of 800 small business owners by next summer.
The business is based on a model where small business owners in rural villages sell LED lights and offer charging services for a small fee. The business owners can now earn their earlier daily earnings in an hour.
The villages benefit from pedal energy in many ways: phones, radios and other small electronic devices work. LED lights are also a lot cheaper than kerosene, which is dangerous and pollutes the air.
The EEP programme in east and southern Africa: