The island nation of Cape Verde has pledged to power the entire country with nothing but renewable energy by the year 2020, and vowed to help other African states work towards the same goal in the future.
With almost no mineral resources of its own and little arable farmland, the outcrop in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean relies on expensive imports for almost all the needs of its 550 000 population.
But there are two things it does have in abundance: Sun and wind.
In 2010, the Cape Verde government released a study setting out the benefits of investing heavily in solar power plants and wind turbines, suggesting short-term targets of 25% renewable energy by the end of 2011 and 50% by 2020. It has now revised its renewable goals for the decade – 30 to 35% by the end of 2016, 50% by 2018 and 100% by 2020.
The government says its strategy is perfectly achievable, and not just driven by the urgent, international need to divest from fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. Many islanders live in poverty, and as much as 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes just from remittance payments sent back by expatriate Cape Verdeans. Investment in wind and solar won’t just cut the need for expensive imports – it will create jobs, too.
Source: The Independent Online