From Crises to Innovations

Fuel shortages, high costs and climate change are some of the factors that has led European countries to pursue alternative renewable energy. In the early 1970s, these three SII donor countries experienced first hand the dangers of overreliance on fossil fuels. It is for those reason that they are now collaborating with Indonesia to bring about water, wind, solar, and biomass technology solutions.

The Danes never forget how the 1973 global oil crises badly impacted their economy. The Norwegians, in spite of their abundant oil reserves and standing as the world’s third largest gas producer, are fully aware that energy efficiency and diversification are key to their long-term survival. Living below sea level, the Dutch are reminded daily of their vulnerability in the face of umitigated climate change. All three are shifting away from fossil fuels.

Denmark’s solution was to invest in wind power technology, with corporations such as Vestas and Siemens emerging in 1979 and 1980. Today, 30% of the counry’s electricity and 11% of its total export come from wind energy. Neighboring Norway, meanwhile, has been generating nearly 100% of its electricity from hydropower since the 1980s –using it both in local consumption and for export. With abundant supply, electric cars have now become ubiquitous. The country is even transforming litter into energy, making Norway Europe’s biggest waste importer.

The Netherlands equally has been harvesting electricity from offshore wind power as well as from their 6.3 tonnes of local waste. The country has since become a biofuel hub in Europe and a leader of efficient gas technology (it controls 30% of Europe’s natural gas reserves). It has also pledged to half its CO2 emission and produce 40% of its electricity from alternative renewable energy by 2050. Ranked sixth in the world in terms of sollar panel patent application, its government pursues neweable energy partnerships with countries such as Indonesia and India.

In addition to allocating funds for the Sumba Iconic Island project, the Dutch government is actively seeking support to promote alternative renewable energy in Sumba. Its cooperative development agency, HIVOS, has since established long-term partnerships with central and regional stakeholders, including the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Heads of Sumba Regencies, and grass-root communities. Two expeditions involving young people from the Netherlands were recently organized to promote the project with supporting music festivals to raise public and private funds.

The Norway government is also investing USD 2 milllion for the alternative renewable energy in Sumba. Prime Minister Erna Solberg recently announced the imminent partcipation of a Norwegian company in providing electricity to the island. In the meantime, the Danish government is supporting the development of wind power plant in Hambapraing, East Sumba. Through its Wind for Prosperity program Vestas is providing low-cost wind turbine technology solution to various parts of the island, intent on reducing poverty as much as CO2 emissions. (HH/YS)

Related Articles:

→ Prosperity from Clean Energy
→ Switching on Lights, Saving Valuable Lives

→ Burying the Hachet, Harvesting Light
→ Carving Away on the Dark Ages
→ Changemakers & Social Transformers
→ The Enthusiastic Paksoy Farmers
→ Illuminating Sumba, Empowering Women
→ Sumba’s Collective Opportunities
→ 100% Renewable