Powerful: Devex readers advance energy solutions

Photo by: Mark Florence / CC BY-SA

We heard a lot from you over the past week on sustainable energy solutions. Dozens of you shared your thoughts on the Devex website and via email and social media on a series of guest opinions by international development leaders like UNIDO Director-General Kandeh Yumkella and R. K. Pachauri, who chairs the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their op-eds, as well as commentary from former Sierra Club chief Carl Pope and Harish Hande, co-founder of Selco India, were part of Rio+Solutions, our joint campaign with the United Nations Foundation to advance real solutions ahead of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil this June.

But some of the most insightful commentary came from you, our readers and members of the global development community, and I encourage you to check them out — and leave your own — by clicking on the stories linked within this article.

Neil Garden, for instance, wrote about recycling such items as waste coal dust into smokeless fuel to replace charcoal, sugar and ethanol waste into energy and organic fertilizer; and using tobacco waste, coal and gas to create other products.

“There are hundreds of other sustainable renewable recycling energy, organic fertilizer and recycling of water projects,” he wrote, “as we have in Africa lots of organic and other waste out there — we just have to use our imagination!”

James Okoh wrote about four components of sustainable energy: renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy conservation and technologies that improve energy efficiency.

Some readers spoke up on carbon credits and the need to reduce the risk to invest in sustainable energy solutions, about microfinance and public-private partnerships. One reader detailed what he called the Pakistani government’s mishandling of energy policy.

Badar Khan offered to apply Hande’s method for bringing electricity to rural India in Pakistan. Christian Chileshe solicited investors in a community-based microhydroelectric scheme in Zambia.

“Investing in energy efficiency and building clean economy,” Stela Stancheva wrote, “means investing not only in research and innovation, but in education, awareness raising campaigns, vocational training for obtaining relevant skills, international cooperation and best practices implementation as well.”

Fallckolm Cuenca had a slightly different take.

“I believe it no longer conceivable to merely transfer technical solutions in wide implementation schemes,” he wrote, “but we must rather create favorable conditions for local durable production. In this respect I believe that we have to find innovative approaches to create synergies between ‘constituencies’, ‘markets’ and ‘peoples’ in order to facilitate sharing and implementation of technology that foster sustainable economic growth.”

There was debate over whether developing countries should push the use of fossil fuels or not.

One reader suggested that in Rio, world leaders set up pilot programs in countries around the world. Another suggested the United Nations set up a Renewable Energy Bank to provide low-interest loans in support of rural electrification.

To explore these and many more ideas for sustainable energy solutions, and suggest your own, check out:

Tell us what you think! Comment below or tweet to @devex with #RioPlusSolutions, and catch up on other Rio+Solutions content on Facebook. Next up: Sustainable jobs solutions!

About the author

  • Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.