Carbon Tracker Report: Coal is Not Solution to Energy Poverty
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For rural communities in Africa and India, renewable sources of energy can be harnessed off-grid to provide electricity at a lower cost than building grid transmission networks, according to a report released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI).

The report advocates for investing in renewables over coal in light of energy security issues, claiming that investing in coal infrastructure may lock countries into importing the fuel.

carbon.tracker.initiative13 November 2014: For rural communities in Africa and India, renewable sources of energy can be harnessed off-grid to provide electricity at a lower cost than building grid transmission networks, according to a report released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI). The report advocates for investing in renewables over coal in light of energy security issues, claiming that investing in coal infrastructure may lock countries into importing the fuel.

‘Energy Access: A Guide to Why Coal Is Not the Way out of Energy Poverty’ compares the cost of mini-grid and off-grid renewables to the cost of introducing grid infrastructure and building coal-fired power plants. The findings suggest that mini-grid and off-grid solutions are more cost-effective, although their roll-out will need to be accompanied by micro-credit and other innovative loan programs for the poor. The analysis also suggests that reduced fuel costs can help offset upfront costs of renewable energy installations.

The report highlights opportunities provided by falling solar costs and improved battery technologies, noting that only seven percent of those lacking energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa live in countries with producing coal assets. In urban areas where coal-sourced power and grid infrastructure is available, CTI finds that renewable power sources are still more cost-effective in comparison to building new efficient coal plants.

CTI is a non-profit organization working to align capital markets with the goal of social and ecological sustainability. [CTI Press Release] [Publication: Energy Access: A Guide to Why Coal Is Not the Way out of Energy Poverty Executive Summary] [Publication: Energy Access: A Guide to Why Coal Is Not the Way out of Energy Poverty] [CTI Publication Webpage]