Clean energy in refugee camps ‘could save $323m’

Investing in clean energy in refugee camps could save millions of dollars as well increase sustainability. That’s according to new research which stated using cook stoves and basic solar lanterns […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Investing in clean energy in refugee camps could save millions of dollars as well increase sustainability.

That’s according to new research which stated using cook stoves and basic solar lanterns could help reduce $323 million (£213m) a year in fuel costs in return for a one-time investment of $335 million (£221.1m) for the equipment.

They could also help reduce emissions by around 6.85 million tonnes annually.

The report was launched by Chatham House for the Moving Energy Initiative (MEI), which seeks to meet the energy needs of displaced people in a safe and sustainable manner.

It stated said some of the barriers to a sustainable, healthier and more effective energy system are a lack of energy experts in the humanitarian sector as well as reliable data on energy costs and use.

Political and institutional decisions also affect the energy access in these places.

The report suggests humanitarian agencies should incorporate energy targets in their programmes and create a fund for energy infrastructures.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: “Everybody needs energy services for light, heat, cooling, communication and mobility. However as the MEI highlights, the costs of energy access and provision are unnecessarily high, whether measured in terms of finance, the environment, health or security.

“Entrepreneurship and amazing advances in technology are not being used systematically to respond to the needs of uprooted people or the communities that host them. Getting this right could yield significant benefits for humanitarian organisations, host authorities and governments and above all for the livelihoods and dignity of the forcibly displaced.”