Clean energy in refugee camps could save millions of dollars

Categories: Energy

It appears that clean energy can bring solutions in the strangest of places—and in curious ways. Solar power, for instance, used in refugee camps in place of current practices and traditional energy sources, can sequester 6.85 million tonnes of carbon per year, proclaims a recent Chatham House report. This problem, at its root, is an energy access problem, not only for refugees, but also for the 2.9 billion people living in energy poverty. Some of the benefits with a switch to renewables include less deforestation, cuts in diesel fuel usage and emissions, as well as lighting for streets in densely packed communities—reducing crime and assault.

Proving the benefits and capacities of clean energy know no bounds, a recent report shows adding solar power to refugee camps could significantly improve the lives of residents, while saving dollars and the planet at the same time. A consortium of NGOs, think tanks and donors recently released a new report that shows energy use by refugees has been neglected by both the international energy access lobby and humanitarian agencies. That’s despite the fact that 90 percent of families in refugee camps have no access to electricity, and camps often have no street lighting, which creates a higher risk of sexual attacks for women and girls when they need to use the toilet after dark.

“This is an energy access problem,” said report author Chatham House at the report’s launch last week. “These displaced people and refugees are part of the 2.9 billion living in energy poverty around the world, but the sustainable development goals and theSustainable Energy for All Initiative didn’t mention them. They are a grey area.”

What’s more, according to the report, introducing efficient cookstoves and basic solar lanterns through the camps could save a whopping $323 million per year in fuel costs to already cash-strapped humanitarian agencies.

That’s not to mention the carbon emissions cuts that could be realized by cutting vast amounts of diesel oil currently used to power refugee camps – and avoiding the significant cutting of forests used for gathering firewood. The Guardian notes adding clean energy to camps would reduce emissions by an estimated 6.85 million tonnes of carbon per year and also help halt deforestation, which is happening at a rate of about 64,700 acres of forest burned per year in countries that are already suffering significant deforestation problems.

via The Guardian

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