Saving What Remains
Solar and Wind Power as an Economic Stimulus
Solar power and wind power have vast potential especially in those poor countries where environmental devastation has created desolate, barren lands, completely useless for development. For these countries, solar or wind power could be the best means to jump start their economies and improve their standard of living. Developing nations have much less invested in carbon dependency than more developed nations and can "leapfrog" energy technology by adopting the more advanced energy infrastructure. In doing so, they can avoid the long term costs of pollution and enter an era of clean and efficient energy. Once the technology is developed, countries, especially sub-Sahara African nations, could produce enough energy not only for their own people and needs, but excess energy which could be exported to surrounding nations. The export of energy would bring in much needed foreign capital to help service debt payments.
Admittedly this solar or wind development would require initial capital investment and technology, both of which could be provided in a partnership with with Western tech firms. Initially, expensive capital outlays for equipment would be required, but after only a few years, revenue from energy exports to surrounding countries would begin to pay off.
The revenue gained from the export of electric energy would finance the development of other industries, which with the electric energy source, would be considerably cleaner and probably more reliable than energy supplied by fossil fuels. Education in universities could be geared toward improving solar panels, developing solar-based industries and improving the durability and efficiency of wind power technology.
The solar-based or wind-based economy would vastly improve the standards of living and help the political standing of the country in international eyes. Additionally, the new economy may decrease the need to exploit forests for fuelwood, charcoal, oil, and hydroelectric potential. Reforestation projects could be initiated on formerly forested lands bordering existing rainforest.
Economic returns from such a knowledge-intensive industry would promote much sounder, more meaningful growth than wealth earned from extractive industry.
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