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The energy transition, are we there yet?

Travelling any distance with children, you will hear the words “are we there yet” uttered many times.

Originally published in the ESI Africa weekly newsletter on 7/10/2020

I’d like to believe it’s their excitement that drives this need to know how much further till the fun part will begin.

Adopted by world leaders in 2015, we have been travelling toward the energy transition for some time now and the ‘fun part’ is still a long way off.

We have less than 10 years to meet SDG7, where the world will – if successful – deliver access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

This ‘road trip’ has already been long and arduous but we must continue on this path. Remember the Millennium Development Goals and how we struggled to achieve these? Perhaps it was because access to power in whatever form was not at the core of these goals.

The new SEforALL administrative board chair, Francesco Starace, sums it up quite nicely: “Energy must be at the heart of the global agenda to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway, focusing multi-stakeholder action especially on renewables and energy efficiency, which are key for delivering on the goals of energy access and climate mitigation.”

While in South Africa, Cecelia Kok, head of research and advocacy at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, is adamant that there is a link too: “Now is the time to unleash the power of the green economy, to help propel South Africa into a sustainable job-intensive and market-driven future … we cannot afford to go on as we have. It is high time for a green transition that will enable South Africa and its people to advance.”

The Foundation has partnered with sector development agency GreenCape to launch a digital green business directory, creating a space where entrepreneurs and innovators and SMMEs can look for opportunities.

It’s clear that we are in this energy transition together and our success relies on making data-driven decisions while forming partnerships—whether locally, across borders, or on a global scale.

Only then will we arrive at our energy-for-all destination, which is within sight but still a long road to travel before the fun begins (for all).

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.