Exploit Renewable Energy To Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

A shop selling solar panels in northern Uganda INTERNET PHOTO A shop selling solar panels in northern Uganda

The year 2015 went into the books of history where more than 150 world leaders representing 150 nations gathered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discus and adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sustainable development is an approach to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The SDG are aimed at guiding the pathway to sustainable future for which universal adoption of renewable energy technologies can exceedingly contribute to their success especially in developing countries.  

For instance, though SDG 7 is the only goal that openly points out the energy sector with emphasis on renewable energy and urges policy makers and governments to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. Energy from sun, wind, water, geothermal and others is of significant importance to achieving other SDGs as well especially in developing countries. 

Particularly, this is the case for; (SDG 1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere, (SDG 3) Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, (SDG 5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,  (SDG 8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, (SDG 9) promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, (SDG 10) reduction of inequalities, and (SDG13) take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

It should be noted that, access to clean, affordable and reliable energy is a cross cutting issue among these goals and can only be the case if we are all going to adopt and use renewable energy technologies and minimize the use of fossil fuels to the least possible means. In fact, renewable energy technologies have the potential to spur sustainable development if implementation follows the principles of revenue sharing, diversity, equality and decentralization.

According to the Alternative Energy Sources Assessment Report (2004) and the National Biomass Assessment Study, Uganda has enormous potential for clean energy, amounting to over 5,300MW and if well exploited will be instrumental for achieving sustainable development including Uganda's vision 2040 and improve the living standards of people.

On the other hand, sustainable development does not only refer to environmental management issues but  must also be based on an economy that conserves its ecosystem jealously  while mindfully focusing on wealth creation and act as an instrument for wealth redistribution and creation of social well-being. Therefore, Environment, economy and society are the three spheres of sustainable development.

This article was written By Samuel Okulony

Programs and research coordinator

Africa Institute for Energy Governance

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