Over the next few years the Netherlands is to provide access to green energy for 50 million of the world’s poorest people. The plan is outlined by foreign trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen in the government’s response to an independent evaluation of her climate policy, which was sent to the House of Representatives yesterday.
This marks the next stage of the minister’s renewable energy programme which was set up a decade ago to reach 10 million people. That goal has been handsomely achieved. According to the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a total of 16.7 million poor people have gained access to renewable energy in recent years, such as wind and solar power, and to clean cookstoves. Cookstoves are far less unhealthy than the wood fires on which many people in poor countries still cook.
Ms Ploumen commented, ‘Our programme helps make more clean energy available faster to people in developing countries. This reduces emissions and increases opportunities for the world’s poorest. Clean cookstoves mean that fewer people are dying of lung diseases. Light and electricity enable people to recharge their mobile phones and make it possible for their children to do their homework in the evenings.’ Clean energy has also given a boost to industry in developing countries. For example, with Dutch assistance, Ghana has set up industrial zones where companies have cheap access to green electricity. As a result, 820 SMEs have moved into these zones and 270 new businesses have started up, providing jobs for 660 people.