South 2 North

The great energy challenge

Is renewable energy like solar and wind power the best solution to the looming global energy crisis?
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2013 09:38
No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

Energy lights our world, heats our food and keeps us connected. Demand for energy is dramatically increasing as the human population grows exponentially. The world’s population has jumped from three billion in 1960 to over seven billion today and we are facing a global energy crisis if more sustainable sources of energy are not developed.

Experts are clear that urgent solutions need to be found, but what are the best solutions? Is renewable energy like solar and wind power the right answer?

Professor Mosad Elmissiry is the head of the Energy Programme at the New Africa Partnership (NEPAD). He is heading up a plan to solve Africa’s energy crisis by getting businesses and governments to at least talk to each other.

Asked whether or not Africa is the new energy frontier, Elmissiry says: “We have the resources here, it is just a matter of how we utilise these resources.”

When Redi asks whether or not we are running out of fossil fuels, Elmissiry explains that environmental pressure is a more urgent global and economic concern than running out of fossil fuels.

Redi also speaks to Dr Christoph Frei, the head of the World Energy Council (WEC). The Council has been around since the 1920’s and is seen as the only truly global organisation for people committed to a sustainable energy future. Frei explains the current energy challenge:

“We look at energy as a place where we need a massive transformation. We describe the big energy crisis as a trilemma. On one hand we have a massive issue on the energy access side … On the other hand we have an environmental challenge … And in the same time horizon by 2050 we expect a doubling of the global energy demand. So how do we bring those three together? That is the massive energy challenge.”

The WEC has recently launched a website (www.worldenergy.org) which provides open access to the WEC’s energy knowledge repository from the organisation’s 90-year history, making invaluable data freely available.

Birgitta Resvik works for a Finnish multi-national company, Fortum. They provide affordable energy solutions for Nordic countries, Russia and India. She talks about renewable energy and how the average person can change their habits to make their energy use more sustainable.


South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.


Al Jazeera
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