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UNIDO and renewable energy: greening the industrial agenda

Renewable energy has become a viable option for enhancing access to energy at most places through on/off grid electrification, both in urban and rural areas, and promoting productive uses and industrial applications in energy intensive industrial sectors, especially in SMEs. Industry needs reliable and affordable energy to become productive and competitive. This paper presents UNIDO’s energy strategy. Its energy-related activities promote cleaner and efficient use of energy, facilitate productive activities in rural areas by providing modern and renewable forms of energy, and enhance the use of renewable energy for industrial applications.

The paper states that UNIDO’s energy strategy aims at helping developing countries to achieve the following objectives:

  • enhance access of the poor to modern energy services based on renewable
  • increase the competitiveness of their industries by reducing industrial energy intensity
  • reduce their impact on climate change by decreasing the carbon emissions of their industries and by promoting renewable energy technologies
  • increase the viability of their enterprises, particularly in rural areas, by augmenting the availability of renewable energy for productive uses.

The paper states that UNIDO pursues a multidimensional and multi-track approach to promoting productive uses of renewable energy in developing countries for policy support, capacity building, global forum activities and information dissemination. Its renewable energy strategy promotes small hydro-power, solar energy and wind energy.

The document presents the following as the way forward, according to UNIDO:

  • assessing energy requirements of manufacturing SMEs
  • designing an appropriate renewable technology package linking with local resources
  • creating awareness about the potential economic benefits of renewable energy applications
  • taking an integrated and programmatic approach would enhance the successful adoption of renewable energy-based industrial applications.

The paper presents the following opportunities and challenges:

  • renewables, including bioenergy technologies, are a clear emerging niche area for UNIDO as they have a significant potential to reduce poverty, create employment opportunities and ensure energy security
  • new funding mechanisms such as carbon financing, the Clean Technology Fund as well as the Adaptation Fund provide new opportunities to finance renewable energy markets
  • accessibility and affordability of energy sources are a major challenge for developing countries which need to be addressed
  • other challenges are the enhancement of UNIDOs fund-raising activities and an increase in its visibility through research, analytical work, policy advice, publications and advocacy.