We are all acutely aware that urgent action is required to prevent irreversible climate change. We also know that urgent action is needed to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, which face growing setbacks in light of the COVID-19 crisis. At Gridworks, we have a role to play in responding to both of these imperatives, with a mandate to help deliver sustainable, affordable and reliable power through investing and developing efficient transmission and distribution systems and improved off-grid electricity networks.
Gridworks’ climate change policy, which was published last week, provides more detail on how we will do this and how climate change considerations will drive our investment decisions. Our aim is two-fold; to make investments that align with African countries’ low-carbon pathways to economic growth, and to support global ambitions to reach net zero carbon by 2050.
Our new climate change policy will ensure that the companies we support can reduce emissions and adapt to become more resilient to climate shocks. Our climate change policy is also driven by the principle of Just Transition – the idea of combining social and climate goals in a way that delivers zero carbon by 2050 but also recognises the importance of job creation and growth in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
For us, there is a strong and clear argument that by investing in or operating African utilities we will play a vital role in delivering carbon emissions reductions. Gridworks’ investments in transmission infrastructure will be designed to make energy systems more efficient, reducing energy losses and therefore saving carbon, as well as enabling more renewable generation on the grid. By giving African businesses and households a more reliable source of power, we will reduce the need for carbon-intensive back-up power from diesel generators. At the same time, lower cost, more efficient energy systems will make businesses more viable, potentially creating opportunities for employment.
Gridworks’ investments in distribution through mini-grids will enable smaller-scale renewable solutions, while also reaching people who may not have had access to energy before.
And while we recognise the importance of longer-term improvements to Africa’s large-scale network infrastructure, we know that we can help address the needs of the ‘here and now’, of growing businesses that need to access power that currently isn’t available to them. That’s why our investments in commercial and industrial solutions will result in greater use of solar power and provide more reliable, and often less costly, sources of power for businesses.
The challenges of providing sustainable, affordable and reliable power for all are significant but Gridworks is committed to playing an important part. I am proud to have helped to develop Gridworks’ new climate change policy, but I’d like to hear your feedback too.