22 of February 2016

Rural Electricity Access in Developing Countries: An Inescapable Compromise for Mankind and Huge Opportunity for Progress

First of all, I want to send my congratulations to ALER and all its members for its first year of activity. I have been a close witness of the intense activity developed, and it shows a huge capacity and potential in our common objective of promoting the use of renewable energy, especially in developing countries.

ARE is celebrating in 2016 its 10thbirthday and since its foundation has been instrumental to the huge transformation of the rural energy access sector in developing countries. This transformation comes from the tireless work of many entities, private companies, research institutes, multilateral organisations, energy agencies, and other stakeholders that understood, a long time ago, that access to energy is fundamental to improve the lives of the un-electrified rural populations of the world. To ensure a clean and healthy transition, the energy should also be generated from sustainable and environmentally-friendly sources.

The SE4All is an umbrella initiative that represents this fundamental impulse and works hand in hand with relevant actors such as the European Commission and a long list of entities committed to this initiative.

The support of renewable energy solutions, especially from 2004, with active national policies in developed countries has made it possible for competitive clean technologies to become a real alternative. Even more than an alternative, we can now provide easier, less cost-intensive and much faster solutions, while also contributing to the generation of local jobs. With this development, we have deleted the first key barrier: Price.

As a matter or fact, we need to highlight that in a “cheap oil” context, the renewable energy installations have beaten all records in terms of capacity installed. This fact represents a significant advantage in our ambitious plans for the energy access in the coming years.

Apart from this, the number of developing countries that have established specific plans for energy access and targets through the creation of Rural Electrification Agencies has increased from less than 30 in 2006 to more than 120 today. This new phenomenon has weakened the second key barrier by improving the legal national framework conditions.

In this context, the focus of the activities of our association is something very important and represents our strength: ARE, has since the beginning only focused on rural electrification and worked together with many new companies and entities sharing our common objective. We represent all sized-companied from small engineering and consulting companies to large industrial manufacturers and utilities.

The focus of ALER is also extremely interesting as the Portuguese-speaking countries represent a great opportunity of cooperation for ARE. Together with other common partners, we look forward to enabling full clean energy access and increase sustainable economic growth in rural areas of developing and emerging countries.

Ernesto Macias Galan, President of Alliance of Rural Electrification (ARE)

Note: ARE and ALER are partners since November 2015, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed, under which the two Parties will collaborate on activities to promote renewable energy and rural electrification. Ernesto Macias is also a member of ALER’s Advisory Board.