Video: Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF’s Manager, Global Renewable Energy Policy on WWF's collaboration with the Barefoot College, India
On the eve of the 2013 European Development Days, held in Brussels from the 26-27 November, WWF staged a debate ‘Empowering African communities to sustainable energy access’. WWF used the event to showcase their activities with Barefoot College in Madagascar.
Rural electrification through renewable and sustainable means, like solar, is not just a ‘green’ choice, said Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF’s Manager, Global Renewable Energy Policy, at the event.
“From an economic point of view,” he said, “most of the solutions for rural access to electricity or sustainable energy is renewable. So we don’t necessarily need to lobby a lot of renewable energy when it comes to access to electricity.”
“Centralised grids are not necessarily the solution. Most of the electricity to poor people will be decentralised in the future,” he continued. “With the fossil fuel prices being high right now, this really is the moment to change.”
Leaders in some developing countries are too often focused on big-ticket projects, overlooking the potential benefits of small-scale, locally developed and managed renewable projects such as this.
“There is a need for a shift,” said Mr Denruyter, “overwhelmingly we see it still a debate about grid extension, hydropower and diesel. And that needs to change.”