Developing nations: First, find your ‘green’ energy, then develop it

June 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Many developing countries have immense wind and solar resources, but lack the data and infrastructure to harness them. A new project from The World Bank aims to change that, partnering with nine countries to develop more sustainable energy strategies.

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Elizabeth BarberContributor /
June 21, 2013

At the end of their workday, Pakistani truck drivers shower at a water reservoir on a roadside on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, earlier this month. Pakistan is one of nine countries partnering with the World Bank to map renewable-energy resources in the developing world.

Muhammed Muheisen/AP/File



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Pakistan’s Sindh province, where the Indus River slips into the Arabian Sea at the country’s southern border, is hot. In winter, the monsoon rains that dance into coastal Pakistan soak the region.

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Elizabeth Barber


Intern

Elizabeth Barber is an intern on The Christian Science Monitor’s Web desk. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English from SUNY Geneseo. Before coming to the Monitor, she was a freelance reporter at DNAinfo, a New York City breaking news site. She has also been an intern at The Cambodia Daily, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and at Washington D.C.’s The Middle East Journal.

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This is a country that should be a wind and solar power hot spot. Instead, it is one where some one-third of the population does not have access to electricity.

But a new program from the World Bank aims to address the disconnect between developing countries’ abundant renewable resources and lagging progress in harnessing those resources to power economic development. Nine countries, including Pakistan, are set to partner with the World Bank in its Renewable Energy Mapping Program, which is putting $11.6 million toward the gathering of the hard data those countries need to pursue their ambitious sustainability projects. It’s an initial step – though probably not a sufficient one – to push developing nations to choose renewable energy sources over fossil fuels. 

RECOMMENDED: Top 5 nations that use renewable energy

Electricity shortages and unreliable water continue to stifle economic progress in many parts of the world – schools cannot open; hospitals struggle; businesses fold; and foreign investment goes elsewhere. Some 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, with just 20 countries in Asia and Africa accounting for some two-thirds of those people.

Meanwhile, global climate change disproportionately punishes the world’s poor. Temperatures are expected to rise by as much as 4 degrees C (7.2 degrees F.) above pre-industrial levels by 2090, according to a separate World Bank report released Wednesday. That increase would devastate crop production in broiling sub-Saharan Africa, flood cities and low-lying rice paddies in Southeast Asia, and deprive South Asia of much of the snowmelt that irrigates its farmland.


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