Australia and India have significant potential to generate affordable clean electricity from solar energy systems. However the economic, environmental and health benefits from a transition to renewable energy are not fully appreciated.
To coincide with this year’s 2023 World Environment Day, World Made Good releases a segment on a joint Australia and India clean energy generation project funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Launched in 2021, the Clean Energy for Healthy Environments and Lives (CE4HEAL) project addresses 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
- SDG#3 Good Health and Well-being
- SDG#4 Quality Education
- SDG#7 Affordable and Clean Energy
- SDG#11 Sustainable Cities and communities
- SDG#13 Climate Action
World Made Good spoke with Professor Sotiris Vardoulakis, Australian National University and Professor Shiva Nagendra, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, on how the project has been increasing access and adoption of domestic solar systems and reduce polluting fuel use in rural and remote Australia and India. These have contributed to cleaner air, affordable and improved energy security, and better health outcomes for rural, remote and Indigenous communities in both countries.
Extreme heat in parts of Australia and Indian are driving the need for affordable, clean and reliable energy. Professor Vardoulakis says, ”Many remote communities in Central Australia are exposed to extreme temperature due to climate change. That means more heat waves and droughts and extreme heat. Heat can be life threatening if people cannot cool their homes, their medical supplies and their food. That’s why they need affordable, clean and reliable energy.”
Most rural households in India use biomass fuels; many remote/Aboriginal communities in Australia rely on polluting and expensive diesel for energy generation. Professor Shiva Nagendra states the health impact being from “harmful gases and particulates significantly that affect respiratory health.”
The project teams have worked with rural and remote communities in Central Australia and South India to identify barriers and promote the use of solar energy. By listening and talking to communities to collect and communicate examples of clean energy projects already operating in rural and remote communities; identify barriers and enablers for increased adoption of clean domestic energy solutions; co-design in ways to communicate their health, environmental, and economic benefits in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities; and enhance collaboration on clean energy solutions between these communities in Australia and India.