Enhancing access to modern and reliable energy supplies is widely regarded as a prerequisite for economic development in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. For such development to be sustainable, this energy must be used to promote productive uses that create jobs and more income-generation opportunities for local communities. UNIDO therefore helps countries increase access to modern energy supplies, especially based on renewable energy, in order to support the development of productive capacities in rural and urban areas.
Given the growing gap between energy supply and demand, renewable energy has assumed a critical role in meeting the rising demand for energy, especially by industry in developing countries. Several renewable energy technologies have emerged as economically viable and environmentally friendly options, which if suitably adopted, can meet growing energy needs of industry, and particularly of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
UNIDO promotes industrial applications of renewable energy in energy-intensive manufacturing SMEs, which have requirements for motive power and process heat for low or high temperature applications. Currently, SMEs satisfy the great majority of these requirements through electricity derived from fossil fuels or from the direct combustion of such fuels, in the form of furnace oil, kerosene or coal. In view of the rapidly rising cost of these fuels, enhanced use of renewable energy technologies would not only improve the local environment, but also increase the productivity and competitiveness of the SMEs. It also offsets unreliable energy supplies from national grids.
UNIDO advises national and regional planners and decision makers in elaborating strategies for their industrial energy mix, considering all available technologies, with a focus on renewable sources of energy. Further, UNIDO promotes national and regional production as well as renewable energy technologies and adequate support structures, including innovative financial schemes.