Energie pour les plus démunis

BRÊME – On estime à 1,2 milliard, dont 550 millions en Afrique et 400 millions en Inde, le nombre d’individus qui n’ont pas accès à l’électricité. La plupart vit en zones rurales où la population est disséminée et les revenus faibles, ce qui rend économiquement inviable le rattachement des foyers et des entreprises à un réseau. Il n’est pas non plus envisageable de générer de l’énergie avec une unité au diesel, en raison du coût élevé du carburant et de l’investissement initial que cela requiert.

L’acheminement stable d’une électricité abordable est un préalable au développement économique. Dans les faits, les conséquences de ne pas avoir accès à l’électricité peuvent être considérables : les personnes peuvent se voir privées de soins de santé adéquats, ou être dans l’incapacité de stocker les aliments frais. Mais une solution fondée sur un usage local d’énergie renouvelable, nécessite un investissement initial minimal et peut être modulé dans le temps.

Cette approche « d’amorce » est fondée sur l’utilisation du photovoltaïque – une technologie simple, universelle, adaptable, et facile à entretenir. Ce principe veut que dans la première étape du processus, les consommateurs utilisent les sources d’énergie renouvelable comme les ampoules à LED, et revendent l’excédent éventuel produit pour économiser suffisamment d’argent afin d’acheter des lampes à huile (qui coûtent environ 20 milliards de dollars par an aux Africains).

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