Climate change and sustainable energy production are high on the political agenda. However, public debate generally focuses on how the use of fossil fuels can be reduced. Much less attention is given to the lack of energy access for people living in developing countries. Remarkably, the solution to both issues is the same: renewable energy. In its projects, Hivos aims to demonstrate that green and inclusive energy is not a pipe dream or an alternative, but simply the best choice. Our research informs our stance in the debate and reflects on our projects in the field.
One strand of research concerns biofuels: its crop cultivation, financial feasibility, general benefits for small-scale farmers and ethical considerations concerning food versus fuel. Regarding Jatropha curcas, a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Hivos published an extensive meta-evaluation of a range of pilot projects, which can be found in this dossier. Our biogas programmes resulted in studies concerning bioslurry, a by-product from biogas produced from cattle, pig and buffalo dung (and other excrement). An extensive publication concludes that bioslurry not only solves various soil fertility problems, but also gives biogas projects for farmers in Africa and Southeast Asia access to modern energy services, while helping mitigate poverty and climate change.
Recognizing the power of showing by example, we initiated Iconic Projects, bold Hivos initiatives that showcase how people can take charge of their own development - aided by a supply of 100% renewable energy. In 2010, Hivos initiated its Sumba campaign, a mission to turn the Indonesian island of Sumba into ‘an Iconic Island for Renewable Energy’. The choice of Sumba was based on the results of assessments concluding that the island possessed strong potential for various types of renewable energy. Five years later, Sumba is well on its way. Our research products feature forward-looking assessments of readiness and backward-looking reflections on the dynamics of this complex multi-actor initiative, involving local indigenous tribes, local, regional and national government structures and industry.
A more current strand of research comes from the Energy Change Lab, a Hivos-IIED partnership cultivating space for dangerous thinking and exploration of complex ideas in the energy domain. The Lab noted that mainstream debates on energy futures tend to have a common blind spot: discussions focus on energy sources, market regulation, security, demand, price and the environment. The role of ordinary people in these systems is left out. Research focuses on how to fill this gap. Leading energy thinkers around the world were asked what role ordinary people would play in energy systems of the future, resulting in an extensive publication, outlining steps for further action and exploration.
For these and more insights about renewable energy do browse through this dossier! Are you looking for a specific publication? Use our publication search.