Sustainable Energy Access: Protecting the future generations

Why is ensuring sustainable energy access for all important for future generations?

Since the adoption of the sustainable development goals, there have been a couple of strides to attain completion of these goals by 2030. 

With coronavirus still spreading across the world, we are witnessing a new normal with a change in lifestyle, work, feeding, and a lot of regular habits. We have witnessed the impact of energy access during the pandemic, especially in powering healthcare facilities. There are usually discussions on the effect of reduced energy access on economic development, finances, healthcare in general, but few of these reflect how children, especially those in least-developing areas are being affected. Below are three reasons to accelerate sustainable energy access for future generations.

 

  1. Better Healthcare

The future belongs to the children who are born and who will be born in the next few years (new generation). But there are about 4 million premature deaths annually from the nearly 3 billion people dependent on inefficient and highly polluting cooking systems. In addition, about 28% of healthcare facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to reliable electricity. 

Safeguarding the future of new generations would involve keeping them alive to witness this future. With reliable electricity provided through mini-grids or solar home systems and clean cooking solutions, there is safe storage of drugs/vaccines, powering of mobile phones for communication between doctors, reduced cases of visual and respiratory diseases and reduced mortality during childbirth. 


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  1. Sustainable Agriculture

Food is one of the basic necessities of life. In Sub-Saharan Africa, about 10-20% of grains are lost after harvest, accounting for about US$4bn. The major causes of wastage in the agriculture industry are lack of appropriate storage, processing or cooling equipment. With energy solutions powering cooling (cold rooms), agro-processing, off-grid storage, irrigation, tech, machinery and other processes across the agriculture value chain, the industry can avoid costly waste, boost revenue and address food security issues. 

 

  1. Water Management

In rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls are responsible for fetching water in households where they do not have water on the premises. These water sources are also used for defecation, laundry and waste disposal. Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrheal diseases. In addition, one in four healthcare facilities lacks basic water services. 

At Kigbe community, Havenhill deployed a borehole system that provides clean water daily for the community. This system is powered by the solar mini-grid in that community. Utilising scalable energy systems like mini-grids, community individuals and institutions can have access to clean water for better living and sanitation.

 

With sustainable energy, there is provision for longer reading hours and access to technology for students. Women who would spend a longer time in the day trying to maximize daylight to achieve tasks will have more flexible hours for productive work. There will also be reduced cases of deforestation for lighting, heating or cooking purposes.  Within communities, provision of electricity would help improve safety for all, especially at night. Deploying energy solutions to almost 800 million people without access to electricity will require skilled and unskilled manpower, therefore creation of jobs. 

The former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon described energy as the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability. It is the most inclusive string that links other sustainable development goals. It is important for securing the future. 



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