Renewable power should be preferred at refugee settlements: Report

at 12:57 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Renewable power can be a vital source of clean, low-cost and reliable energy solutions to refugee settlements across the globe, which mostly rely on sources that are unsustainable and harmful, according to a new study.

There are currently 26 million refugees in the world.

The report titled, “Renewables for refugee settlements: Sustainable energy access in humanitarian situations” has been prepared by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The report, released at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, examines the energy needs at refugee camps and identifies renewables-based solutions for four sites in Iraq and Ethiopia. The report highlights, in particular, solar mini-grids as being able to boost the efficiency of humanitarian operations, avoid costly diesel consumption, and support recently arrived refugees with immediate, reliable electricity access.

The two global developmental agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their existing cooperation in addressing the need for efficient, clean, affordable and reliable energy in humanitarian situations, an official statement said.

“In line with our Global Strategy for Sustainable Energy, we aim to ensure that refugees can meet their basic energy needs in exile while also minimizing environmental degradation. Sustainable energy access will bridge this gap, enabling refugees to pursue education, supporting businesses and social enterprises, spurring innovation and exponentially enhancing the safety and well-being of people and communities, until such time that they can return home,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi was quoted in the statement.

“Off-grid and grid connected small and medium sized solar installations are available, affordable and can bring reliable power to millions of displaced people around the world,” the statement quoted IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera as saying.

Findings of the report conclude that most refugees lack any reliable access to electric lighting. Larger solar parks could provide electricity in and around settlements, as well as creating an enduring asset for host communities.