Head of Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Division Energy Commission – Ghana
The global economy has been shaken by the sudden advent of COVID-19. Both developed and developing economies
have experienced disruptions to their Gross Domestic Product with its attendant problems like
unemployment. However, there is a silver lining beneath the pandemic clouds as it presents a
chance to change from businessas-usual to a more aggressive and innovative way of doing things.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Accelerators
are potential enablers that can help developing economies increase electricity access rate while tapping into huge energy efficiency potentials. The three action pillars of SEforALL – ensure universal access to modern energy
services, increase the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix, and increase the national rate of improvement in energy efficiency – as supported by specialized accelerators could facilitate a speedy recovery from
the negative impacts of COVID-19 in the micro- and macroeconomy. The health sector is the most impacted by COVID-19,and countries have had to spend more to either maintain the quality of their health care delivery or
improve it to ensure high recovery rate for patients. Access to reliable and affordable electricity is therefore crucial to managing this pandemic. One way by which SEforALL accelerators could support developing countries in
increasing access to electricity and modern energy services is by facilitating adoption of more affordable and durable renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. This could support rural populations to be actively
involved in economic activities like production and processing of food products and raw materials for industries.
Energy efficiency can also reduce costs in underserved communities. Cooling, ventilation, refrigeration, and heating
appliances are among the highest consumers of electricity in the residential, commercial, andindustrial sectors. Introduction of energy performance standards and labeling regimes that ensure efficient appliances are used
can save money and energy for families in need. Support for cooling appliances in homes under the United for Efficiency
(U4E) accelerator could be especially timely for beneficiaries who may be spending more on electricity as a result of various “Stay Home” directives. Other energy efficiency Accelerators could provide additional support in the form of grants for consumer and supplier finance schemes to facilitate purchase of these more efficient appliances.
Education is another sector that is hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools around the globe are still shut and classes have migrated to virtual platforms. The equity gap has been further widened because virtual learning platforms are mainly accessed via internet on electrical and electronic devices like computers. For pupils and students in off-grid communities, the situation is financing mechanisms to enhance viability. The pandemic, though a global crisis, presents opportunities that SEforALL energy efficiency and renewable energy accelerators could harness to expand their portfolio, reach, and visibility further compounded by lack of good lighting for studying at
night. Renewable energy and energy efficiency accelerators could support recovery in the education sector by supporting the transfer of more affordable off-grid lighting and low power consuming learning devices to support learning activities.Lighting accelerators could also facilitate access to affordable energy-efficient lamps and control
devices like motion sensors by households and businesses. Finally, in industry, Accelerators working on energy management systems (EnMS) could facilitate the rapid transfer of best practices, innovations, technologies, and tailored-Governments, policy makers, businesses and consumers are more likely to be receptive to energy efficiency interventions that promise significant returns on investments and savings from the “electricity generated” at the
national level. This is a great time to act – fast, big, and with a bang.
Director of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency & Climate Change
(REEECC) – Energy Commission, Ghana