That was the question being asked at this year’s Ashden Conference.
The overwhelming response by the finalists of this year’s Ashden Awards was “yes”. So, is a sustainable energy revolution hope or reality?
To see the amazing transformative work being delivered on the ground across the world to provide sustainable energy to all, it certainly feels like it could be a reality.
We were attending Ashden because partners of ours, including Centre for Rural Technology (Nepal), International Development Enterprises and Biogas Sector Partnership, have won awards in previous years, so we know how high the judges’ standards are, and also because it’s a great chance to celebrate the hard work, innovation and achievements within sustainable energy.
The vision of organisations short-listed this year was impressive: Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network hopes to provide 100% of Wadebridge’s energy requirements through renewable energy by 2020; SolarAid, through its trading subsidiary SunnyMoney, aims to eliminate the kerosene lamp in Africa by 2020.
All organisations are working in vastly different contexts with a myriad of challenges and barriers to overcome, from a lack of infrastructure in developing countries to reach poor consumers, to unfavourable policy environments and import tariffs imposed on renewable energy products.
But with the commitment, passion and desire of these entrepreneurs and organisations to improve people’s lives through providing sustainable energy, those barriers could be overcome.
The aim of generating a profit, coupled with providing societal and environmental benefits, was a theme running through all the initiatives discussed at the Conference.
As Morning Chair Jonathan Porritt made clear, every initiative being delivered, whether in Europe, Africa or the Small Island Developing States, was focused on cost savings, energy-efficiency and CO2 savings, the promotion of community cohesion and empowerment, the provision of employment and training opportunities – and better health and improved living standards – for all.
Duquesne Fednard, Founder and CEO of Haiti-based D&E Green Enterprises, said: “We are not in the business of making (clean-efficient stoves); we are in the business of helping people improve their lives”.
Duquesne Fednard, Founder and CEO of Haiti-based D&E Green Enterprises
And Simon Bransfield-Garth, Azuri’s CEO, stated, “Access to power brings access to opportunity”.
It’s a fitting comment on which to end, as that’s what we believe at Renewable World.
We recognise that without access to reliable, affordable sustainable energy, people’s opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty to lead a brighter future are limited, at best.
Working with our partners, INGOs, research institutions and government departments, we aim to ensure that a sustainable energy revolution really does become a reality.