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Are Renewable Energy Sources Affordable In An Era Of Cheaper Oil?

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How to make renewables affordable







ABU DHABI, 22nd January 2016 – The environment can wait at the altar of development for many countries as they race to wipe out poverty and create new jobs for millions of youth, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.

In a commentary published today, the English language daily ‘Khaleej Times’ asked are renewables affordable in an era of cheaper oil? “Some governments, including the UAE think so, but it all boils down to the masses in emerging economies. Renewable energy is good for the environment but is yet to become a movement. Events like the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) hope to do just that. We are not seeing a revolution in clean energy though policy is being framed and people are talking of making the shift to cleaner power resources like wind and solar.

The UAE has Masdar, an environment-friendly city, and is investing heavily in solar projects like Al Shams and Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park. It makes economic and environment sense for the country. Green investments from the UAE are being taken to countries like Mauritania and Jordan. It’s important that emerging economies are on board soon if the movement is to gather pace,” it said.

The paper went on to say that what’s missing is a sense of urgency which should be a matter of concern. The West is done with its industrial revolution which was responsible for most emissions. We are experiencing the effects on the environment today. Last year was the hottest on record. Weather patterns have been affected and the Paris conference last year set limits for temperature increase to prevent natural disasters.

“Emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia are witnessing a period of rapid growth and need energy for their growing populations and industry. The environment can wait at the altar of development for many countries as they race to wipe out poverty and create new jobs for millions of youth. China may have slowed down in the past year but is still growing at a fast clip when compared to the West. India is following suit after decades of economic stagnation under a socialist mindset.”

It continued by saying basic needs for the masses are the priority in countries like Brazil, India, China and South Africa. Water and power supplies are yet to reach millions. Governments have to deal with war, hunger and mass migration. How hard will it be for these countries to set aside budgets for renewable energy? Are sustainable schemes worth it when oil is hitting new lows and falling further? It’s important to get developing countries on board to save the environment and check global warming.

We could beat climate change by starting with our cities. “We have long known that cities are the most critical arena for climate action, and that energy is the underpinning factor,” said Ambassador Thani Al Zeyoudi, the Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Costs for affordable energy can be brought down if residents do their bit. The UAE is encouraging rooftop solar panels on buildings. It has also introduced green building codes to improve energy efficiency.

“Renewable energy, together with energy efficiency, is the backbone of a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA. For the record, prices of solar photovoltaic cells have fallen 80% decline in the last five years. Forms like ADSW help spread awareness about green technologies, which could be installed at home, schools and offices at subsidised rates.

The paper concluded by saying the more we use them, the cheaper green technologies will become. An affordable renewable culture at the grassroots is important for government efforts to succeed.

{Source: Emirates News Agency-WAM/bashir}

[photo credits-featured image: By USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]


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