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UNEP at work


UNEP undertakes a wide range of activities in promoting and facilitating the development and uptake of clean technology. Here are a couple of recent examples. For further examples of UNEP’s climate change work visit www.unep.org/unite/30Ways


Heating up the renewable energy debate

THE PROBLEM:
Against a background of diminishing hydropower resources, unstable oil prices and dwindling biomass, Kenya is eager to make more use of its massive geothermal energy potential. But high upfront costs and the substantial risks involved in geothermal development have meant only a fraction of Kenya’s potential has been exploited.

THE SOLUTION:
Improved geophysical imaging and interpretation of geophysical data has lowered geothermal development costs by reducing the number of expensive, unproductive wells. Such improvements at the National Power Generation Utility of Kenya’s (KenGen) Olkaria facility in the Rift Valley, have made it easier to identify wells of high generation potential, increased power generation and supply reliability while simultaneously reducing costs and benefitting the environment.

WHAT UNEP DID:
In 2002 UNEP began working with KenGen on the Joint Geophysical Imaging (JGI) for Geothermal Reservoir Assessment project. Since then the project has improved geophysical data interpretation techniques and provided stateof- the-art equipment for exploration to identify promising new drilling sites. The project has resulted in substantial savings on geothermal development, reduced CO2 emissions and helped technology transfer and capacity building.

THE BIG PICTURE:
The project has already shown its regional potential, with KenGen using its expertise to help Rwanda, Eritrea and Zambia assess and develop their geothermal resources. UNEP and the World Bank have initiated a regional project in six East African countries — Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda — to tap into the Rift Valley’s vast, unexplored geothermal potential.



Solar Loans for rural homes

THE PROBLEM:
More than 60 per cent of Indian households have no access to reliable electricity supplies and depend on kerosene for light and on burning dung and wood for heat. Millions of poor people face respiratory diseases that result from burning solid fuel. Lack of electricity is also a powerful barrier to economic and social development.

THE SOLUTION:
In 2003 UNEP’s Indian Solar Loan Programme teamed up with two of India’s largest banking groups to establish the lending market for household solar lighting systems. The programme provided technical support and training, as well as an interest rate subsidy that allowed banks to reduce the cost of loans, accelerating market penetration of solar lights in Southern India. The new lending market financed almost 20,000 solar home systems between 2004 and 2007.

WHAT UNEP DID:
UNEP and the UNEP-Risoe Centre worked with Canara and Syndicate banks and their rural Grameen affiliate banks in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala, helping the rural poor gain access to clean and affordable energy supplies.

THE BIG PICTURE:
The Indian Solar Loan Programme has influenced national policy, with the Government of India sidelining its capital subsidy approach to supporting solar power in favour of interest subsidies. Costs of $900,000 in interest subsidies generated $6.7 million in commercial financing, and have been more than offset by household savings on kerosene and other traditional energy sources.